Hunter Biden will meet with potential buyers at gallery, Jen Psaki tries to explain how this makes sense

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Earlier this month the Washington Post reported that the White House was involved in setting up a system that would allow Hunter Biden to sell his art without knowing who was buying it:

White House officials have helped craft an agreement under which purchases of Hunter Biden’s artwork — which could be listed at prices as high as $500,000 — will be kept confidential from even the artist himself, in an attempt to avoid ethical issues that could arise as a presidential family member tries to sell a product with a highly subjective value.

Under an arrangement negotiated in recent months, a New York gallery owner is planning to set prices for the art and will withhold all records, including potential bidders and final buyers…

Officials close to President Biden, who have helped craft the agreement along with Hunter Biden’s attorney, have attempted to do so in a way that allows the president’s son to pursue a new career while also adhering to the elder Biden’s pledge to reverse his predecessor’s ethical laxity, especially regarding family members.

This arrangement was criticized by some at the time it was announced because even if Hunter doesn’t know who is buying the art, the prices the art is bringing are still largely if not wholly based on his name and connection to the president.

CBS News is reporting today that the deal worked out by the White House isn’t even as good as it was previously described. Hunter Biden will in fact meet with potential buyers at a gallery show before the sale:

Hunter Biden is expected to meet with prospective buyers at two art shows where his paintings will be on display later this year, according to a spokesperson for the New York gallery retained to sell art made by the president’s son.

The shows, a small, private affair in Los Angeles and a larger exhibition in New York City, will give Biden an opportunity to interact with potential buyers of his paintings, which the gallery expects to sell for as much as $500,000.

Asked whether Hunter Biden would attend both events, Georges Berges Gallery spokeswoman Robin Davis said, “Oh yes. With pleasure. He’s looking forward to it. It is like someone debuting in the world. And of course he will be there.”

Again, the real issue here isn’t Hunter Biden’s art, it’s the President’s son mingling with people who want to ingratiate themselves in some way with his family. As CBS points out, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki previously said of the White House organized plan, “I think it would be challenging for an anonymous person who we don’t know and Hunter Biden doesn’t know to have influence.” But now we know the people won’t be anonymous.

Psaki’s was asked today about Hunter attending the gallery opening and said, “[Biden]’s not going to have any conversations related to the selling of art.” So contrary to her previous claim, Hunter will know who potential buyers are but won’t know who actually bought the art. The White House also won’t know who bought the art. Here’s Psaki’s comments today in which she was asked what happens if a buyer simply announces on social media that they have bought one of the paintings. Then everyone will know, making this system less than foolproof.

There’s a long history of presidential relatives trying to capitalize on their sudden connection to power. Anyone know what a can of Billy beer is worth these days? Maybe this video is a clue to what Hunter Biden’s art will be worth in a few decades.

Update: A really good point.