Former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, and when asked if he thought foreign companies and investment banks would have hired him if his name wasn’t Biden he said, “Probably not.” He is correct. The younger Biden had little to no experience in the businesses for which he was paid big salaries. He was hired because he is the son of a powerful person, clearly in hopes that they would have some influence with the father and impress their customers with the fact that they were so close to someone with influence.
That reeks of class privilege and it is incredibly common in American business and politics. I don’t think I have ever worked anywhere in my life where cronyism, nepotism and influence-peddling weren’t present in some form or another. Hiring some ne’er-do-well relative is one of the ways rich and powerful people scratch each other’s backs — and, not incidentally, ensure that the quasi-aristocracy of the one percent is perpetuated. If anything, what’s uncommon is for some scion of the powerful to openly admit he only got the job was because of his name. Usually, they fatuously insist their “success” is due to their own unique brilliance and talent.
It was interesting to see the reactions of some of the famous scions of right-wing politicians weigh in on Hunter Biden’s appearance. For instance, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is the the son of Ron Paul, a longtime GOP congressman from Texas and two-time presidential candidate, told MSNBC that Hunter Biden should be officially investigated. When anchor Stephanie Ruhle pointed out that there are numerous offspring of powerful people working in the administration, Paul, the great libertarian, excused this nepotism because the children weren’t getting rich. When Ruhle pressed him about the Trump family, Paul suddenly reversed course saying, “If we want to go down the road of the politics of self-destruction of everybody, criminalize all politicians on both sides of the aisle and go after their family, we can do that.” He then suggested it was “holier than thou” to even ask the question, since both sides do it.
Hunter Biden will be sure to call him as a character witness if Trump’s Department of Justice follows through on an investigation, as has been rumored.
The late Sen. John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain of “The View,” thought Hunter Biden didn’t come off too well either, and said he was foolish to have admitted that his last name had landed him his well-paid employment. No word on what her husband Ben Domenech, founder of the conservative The Federalist and son of the Trump administration’s undersecretary of the interior, Douglas Domenech, had to say about it.
One of the most aggressive critics of the Biden family nepotism was Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who tweeted: “Hunter Biden got $50K a month from a Ukrainian energy company, despite having ZERO experience in energy. His justification? That he was also on the board of Amtrak–more obvious nepotism. If that’s not the swamp, I don’t know what is!”
You may recall that McDaniel changed her name when she took this big job at the RNC after Trump’s inauguration. Before that she was better known as Ronna Romney McDaniel. She is the niece of Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, and the granddaughter of the late Michigan Gov. George Romney, who himself ran for president. When it comes to nepotism, she knows whereof she speaks.
Naturally, it was the Trump spawn that really hit the ball out of the park. Big brother Donald Trump Jr. couldn’t resist tweeting about Hunter Biden’s interview:
Dumpster fire at Biden HQ! “It is impossible for me to be on any of the boards I just mentioned without saying that I’m the son of the vice president of the US. I don’t think that there’s a lot of things that would have happen in my life that if my name wasn’t Biden” Hunter Biden
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 15, 2019
Apparently, Don Jr. believes that like his father (also the scion of a wealthy man) he is a very stable genius who got where he is purely by dint of his enormous talent.
A few days ago, Junior told Sean Hannity, “If I went to China and I did that … and I came back with $1.50 — not $1.5 billion — $1.50, we would solve the media problem because their heads would explode, there’d be no fake news media left.”
Eric Trump was on Fox News with Laura Ingraham recently and also had some strong opinions on the matter:
Hunter Biden "didn't know anything about the industry he was in, he didn't have any discernible duties, and he's getting paid $50,000 a month? And then he gets a billion five from China?
— Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) October 3, 2019
He even wrote a whiny op-ed for The Hill in which he declared that Hunter Biden was being let off easy:
If the situation were reversed, I would have been front page news in every newspaper, online publication, and cable news outlet for the rest of my life. Reporters would be camping outside of my door, my family would have been picked apart, my name would have been smeared in the news every single week, and my father arguably would not even be president of the United States today
As former Bush administration official David Frum said on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” last weekend, ”When you see poor Eric and poor Don Jr., you realize there are bivalves with more self-awareness than the Trump children.”
It’s been nearly impossible to get the House to take up the president’s criminality and abuse of power, so it’s unlikely that anyone will ever officially investigate the influence-peddling, bribery, nepotism and overall corruption of the Trump family during this presidency. But it is unprecedented.
Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner take no salaries, mainly because it was the only way they could get around the nepotism rules for White House staff. But they are both still raking in tens of millions of dollars every year from their businesses, many of which are clear conflicts of interest with the work they supposedly do at the White House. Kushner, in particular, has huge financial conflicts in countries he deals with in his official capacity. Ivanka shuttered the fashion business but continues to get trademarks from China for some reason and works on issues that impact the Trump Organization — from which, of course, she still profits.
The Trump boys, who were to run the business while Dad and Ivanka did the politics, were supposed to eschew any “new deals.” Of course, they’ve done plenty. They’ve sold a lot of real estate to people with good reason to curry favor with their father. They’ve been feted and pampered by rich sheiks and government leaders and shady businessmen all over the world, many of whom are open about their desire to gain access and influence with the president — who is also benefiting financially from all of this.
Here’s one from just last month:
Congratulations to our extraordinary @TrumpScotland team! Minutes ago, we received full & total approval for a new phase of development to include 500 homes, 50 cottages, sports center, retail & more. We also received approval to build a 2nd golf course! Very proud of them! pic.twitter.com/odVxomGdmf
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) September 26, 2019
Only a first family that would openly engage in this level of nepotism, cronyism, influence-peddling and corruption would have the chutzpah to rail against Hunter Biden and whine that he’s being treated with kid gloves. In other words, only the Trumps would do that.
Trump claims not to ‘know’ Gordon Sondland very well — but the evidence suggests otherwise
President Donald Trump attempted to distance himself Wednesday from his hand-selected European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland. At the same time, Trump claimed that Sondland’s stunning testimony, which alleged that the president had ordered a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine, in fact, vindicated him.
“Was there a ‘quid pro quo’?” Sondland said in his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday. "The answer is ‘yes.’”
Sondland further claimed that “everyone was in the loop” and all actions were “directed” by the president.
Republicans are at each other’s throats about Gordon Sondland’s testimony
Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony in the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday turned high-profile Republicans against each other.
His remarks sparked explosive reactions from both critics and defenders of President Donald Trump. Sondland detailed extensive evidence that he, in concert with the White House, administration officials, and with the president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, set up a quid pro quo both with Ukraine both for a meeting with Trump and for military aid in exchange for an announcement about investigations into his political rivals. But Republicans latched on to Sondland’s claim that he didn’t recall ever hearing from Trump directly that military aid was conditioned on an announcement and that late in the process — after the scheme was coming to light — the president denied asking for a “quid pro quo.”
Ukrainians know all about Trump’s corruption — and even have a special word for it
When Donald Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his opponent Joe Biden, it wasn’t just political dirt he was trying to import to the U.S., but a whole phenomenon.
It has a name in Ukraine which can be roughly translated as “problem-solving.” A whole class of people who provide that service. The local name for them is a “reshala.”
For example, if your business is being attacked by the government’s security service for no apparent reason, someone will offer you a solution. For a certain fee, of course. (In America, that’s known as a protection racket.)