President Joe Biden’s family history has long been one of his greatest political strengths. The Republicans are starting to think they can make him a liability.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn’t lacked for issues on which he has attacked Biden: immigration, the military, or «wake-up» politics. But speaking to a group of Republicans about fathers’ rights in Tennessee last weekend, he made it more personal.

«Why don’t you spend some time with your granddaughter in Arkansas, or at least acknowledge her existence before you start worrying about our children?» DeSantis said.

He too tweeted a jab in Biden on the issue on Friday.

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley also raised this attack Thursday when speaking about her call for mental competency testing of presidents and joked which should include a question about “how many grandchildren do you have”.

The 2024 presidential candidates referenced the child fathered by the president’s son, Hunter, and a woman named lunden roberts. Hunter Biden, who described his relationship with Roberts as an affair while battling addiction, recently settled a highly publicized paternity case with Roberts in an Arkansas court.

But in recent comments, the president did not count the boy among his grandchildren, making him the target of criticism and the issue of ongoing conservative news coverage.

NBC News reached out to the White House, the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee. They all declined to comment for this piece.

The attacks on the Bidens by their family are not new. This same week, the representative of the Georgia Republican Party, Marjorie Taylor Greene, showed nude photos of Hunter Biden. during a House Oversight Committee hearing.

The fact that they have now approached the presidential campaign and focused on this young woman and her role in the Biden family underscores how Republicans are leaning into an issue that is deeply personal to the president, and one that is not going away. Republicans say she reveals the president’s true colors and exposes the hypocrisy of a president who has made family a central tenet of his political persona.

“It goes against the narrative that it tries to create. He talks about being a great family man, how he calls all his grandchildren, how he loves his family, how he’s a devout Catholic,” former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in an interview. “And yet this portends nothing. And the weird thing about this is that there’s nothing to be ashamed of.»

Hunter Biden initially denied being the father of the child, but in court documents, Roberts said a paternity test «established with scientific certainty» that he was. Hunter Biden recently settled the paternity case with Roberts, who withdrew a request that his daughter take the Biden name. The deal includes child support, a college fund and an undisclosed number of Hunter Biden paintings, which have come under scrutiny because they fetched as much as $500,000 each.

The president himself often speaks publicly about his grandchildren and has said that he talks about his close relationship with them.

“I have six grandchildren and I am crazy about them”, biden said at a Take Your Child to Work Day event at the White House in April. «I talk to them every day.»

Whether the president should recognize the grandson has also been the subject of conservative talk shows and news panels. Last week, Fox News’ Sean Hannity sent a reporter to Batesville, Ark., whose full report involved asking people on the street how they felt about Biden’s granddaughter and the president «refusing to acknowledge her existence.» In another report, Fox News cameras monitored the entrance to the US Capitol and asked members of Congress whether the president should publicly count the girl among his grandchildren.

A front page, deeply informed story in The New York Times about the granddaughter followed by a column written by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd titled, “There are seven grandchildren, Mr. President”, reinvigorated the conversation.

«The President’s coldness — and heart — runs counter to every message he has sent for decades, and is out of sync with the America he wants to continue to lead,» Dowd wrote.

Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist, said Dowd’s column helped give Republicans a «road map» on how to attack the president over the issue.

«Obviously, it’s low hanging fruit for Republicans as they question the authenticity of Biden’s messages,» Bonjean said.

The Republican National Committee has repeatedly criticized the president on the issue, including on social media.

“Biden’s refusal to acknowledge his own granddaughter is abhorrent and heartbreaking. Biden has no empathy,” RNC President Ronna McDaniel. tweeted on July 9.

The group said that this was not going to stop.

«Every lie Biden tells, whether it’s that he only has six grandchildren or that his withdrawal from Afghanistan was a success, will haunt his campaign,» RNC spokeswoman Emma Vaughn said in a statement. «Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail will continue to hold this failed and dishonest president accountable.»

That’s even as most of the party has offered a muted response to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s many legal woes, including being convicted of sexual assault and criminally charged twice with a third case pending.

“It is very difficult for them to defend. There are a lot of pots that call the black kettle here when it comes to having problems,” added Bonjean. «But I think all of this has to do with the voters in the Republican primary.»

Not all Republicans agree. Conservative Ann Coulter wrote on substack: “The idea that a crack-fed roll in the hay entitles the mother to be treated as an upstanding member of the family is absurd.”

Focus group guru Frank Luntz, a Republican, cast the criticism as a personalization of politics that he could not engage with. He hasn’t heard anything from voters in his focus groups about the criticism the president faces over his grandchild.

«Nobody cares,» he said.

And an article on The New Republic, a liberal publication, criticized the press, arguing that Republicans would never be held to the same standard: “That’s the real bias of today’s media. It’s an expectation bias, and it always mitigates in favor of people you don’t expect anything from in the first place.»

“Republicans have lost many of their major attacks on Biden as president. So it means that politically they need to develop more attacks on him as a person, as a father or a grandfather, because the attacks on him as president are becoming less effective,» said veteran Democratic operative Simon Rosenberg. «I’m not surprised to see more investment or some of this ongoing obsessive investment from Republicans trying to take him down as a man, as a father, and as a grandfather because he’s basically all they have.»

Rosenberg added: «It won’t be enough.»