The White House on Friday defended Hunter Biden’s recent career change to artist, denying that his art sales could be used to gain influence over him or his father, the president.
“After careful consideration, a system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said reporters Friday. “Of course, he has the right to pursue an artistic career just like any child of a president.”
Biden’s debut show at a private SoHo New York gallery and with a private showing in Los Angeles prior to the show has raised eyebrows because, despite the fact that Biden was unknown in the art world until last month, his paintings are priced between $75,000 and $500,000.
In addition, the gallery has said that sales will be handled anonymously, positing that if no one knows who bought the paintings, there will be no way for the buyer to gain undue influence on Hunter Biden or President Joe Biden, through his son.
Hunter’s new career raising eyebrows
Critics of the arrangement and of Hunter Biden’s sudden “career” as an artist have said that people may be paying such high prices for the art to gain influence.
Hunter was previously known for having a $50,000 a month consulting gig with Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company, even though he had no previous experience in the energy industry.
Given Joe Biden’s ties to Ukraine while vice president, it was suspected by some that Hunter was given the job so that Burisma could get influence with his father, though no evidence of such an arrangement has been found.
Hunter Biden also had a stake in a Chinese state-run company that handled investments, including some in the U.S. He may not have divested from that company to date, according to reports.
He is currently thought to be under investigation by the FBI because of his ties to China, including the gift of a 2.8-carat diamond from a Chinese tycoon.
Conflict of interest
The president’s aides said after the election that Biden would sign a pledge to avoid conflicts of interest related to his family, but that didn’t stop him or the first lady from commenting on Hunter’s recent memoir, an action that could be construed as influencing sales.
It seems that the Bidens just can’t help themselves when it comes to profiting off Joe Biden’s political career, and Biden himself doesn’t seem to be doing a whole lot to stop Hunter or other family members from doing so.
It’s all too easy for a company or business to see awarding lucrative positions to family members of powerful people as a way to curry favor or show support, but allowing Hunter Biden to cash in on his father’s position yet again just seems wrong.