US President Joe Biden on Friday, July 28 publicly acknowledged his seventh grandchild for the first time—a four-year-old girl his son Hunter fathered with an Arkansas woman—after Republican criticism of his failure to recognize her.
"This is not a political issue, it's a family matter," the president said in a statement to PEOPLE Magazine about the girl, Navy Joan Roberts.
"Our son Hunter and Navy's mother, Lunden, are working together to foster a relationship that is in the best interests of their daughter, preserving her privacy as much as possible going forward."
Biden said he and his wife Jill "only want what is best for all of our grandchildren, including Navy."
PEOPLE cited an unnamed source familiar with the situation as saying that a child support dispute between Hunter Biden and Lunden Roberts, settled last month, had affected how the First Couple interacted with their grandchild.
"You have to remember there were some fairly contentious legal proceedings between Navy's parents happening until just a few weeks ago. As grandparents, the Bidens are following Hunter's lead," the source said.
The Democratic US president had come under tough criticism from Republicans who said his failure to mention Navy was at odds with his public image as a family man.
Earlier this month, top Republican lawmaker Elise Stefanik called Biden "cold, heartless, selfish, and cowardly" for not acknowledging Navy, and labeled the situation "an inexcusable disgrace" in comments to the Daily Mail.
Hunter Biden's paternity of the child was confirmed through DNA testing. She has reportedly not met her father or her grandparents.
Hunter Biden, who has battled drug addiction and is currently mired in legal trouble over tax charges and illegal possession of a firearm, has four other children. (AFP)