It was all fun and games on Twitter until a former head ethics guy from the Obama administration realized that everyone can see his tweets. His disapproving tweets on President Biden’s behavior towards his son Hunter’s book led to some quick deleting Sunday afternoon but not before a reporter for the Washington Examiner noticed.
Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics during the Obama administration, wasn’t pleased to hear Joe Biden make public comments on Hunter’s soon-to-be-published memoir. He said it was like a “book promotion tour”. Shaub tweeted “It is not acceptable” and then apparently followed up with other tweets. All have been deleted now.
“It is not acceptable for the President of the United States to be part of the book promotion tour. No,” tweeted Shaub, a U.S. Office of Government Ethics former director under Obama. The tweet that was issued Sunday afternoon was deleted but not before the Washington Examiner viewed its contents.
Shaub also said it was “wonderful” that Hunter Biden, 51, was sharing his experience with addiction because it could help Hunter and other people fighting personal demons. But Shaub added the president’s comments regarding the memoir, Beautiful Things, were ethically compromised. There appears to have been other tweets by Shaub in the past 24 hours knocking Biden for the comments about his son’s book, but they were also erased.
Shaub’s not wrong. It’s opportunistic for daddy to be promoting son’s book, knowing that it will pique the curiosity of readers. After all, Hunter wouldn’t even have a book deal if it were not for his last name. Lots of people, sadly, have a drug addiction and recovery story to tell. Few have access to a publisher and score multi-million dollar deals. Biden became emotional when describing Hunter’s troubles.
In a pre-Super Bowl interview with CBS News, Biden became visibly emotional when asked about his son’s tome, set to be released on April 6 by Gallery Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint.
“The honesty with which he stepped forward and talked about the problem, and the hope that — it gave me hope reading it. I mean, it was like, ‘My boy’s back.’ You know what I mean? Anyway, I’m sorry to get so personal,” Biden said.
I don’t fault him for choking up as he spoke. There isn’t a parent alive that can’t relate to the relief it must be to have his son come through it all and get himself together, as it seems Hunter has accomplished. However, neither Biden gets a break here. Joe Biden’s family has a long history of using the family name for personal profit and this is just another example. Hunter Biden is a 51-year-old man, not some wayward teenager. He’s cashed in the family name for contracts worth millions of dollars with the help of Beijing Joe. Hunter admits as much, even if his father will not do the same. When the book deal was announced, the Bidens released a statement of support.
While federal employees working for Biden’s administration are hamstrung by laws that prevent them from making money from their positions, the same rules do not apply to Biden’s family. Biden aides said during transition that his family would sign a code of conduct to avoid any conflicts of interest, yet when their son’s publisher announced the forthcoming title last week, they circulated a personal statement signaling their support.
“We admire our son Hunter’s strength and courage to talk openly about his addiction so that others might see themselves in his journey and find hope. This is a personal book about his own personal journey,” they said.
Hunter Biden has long dealt with allegations he’s profited from his last name. In 2019, he conceded he probably wouldn’t have been offered a $50,000-a-month role on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukraine oligarch-linked natural gas company, if his father hadn’t been vice president and leading foreign policy in the region.
“I don’t think that there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life if my last name wasn’t Biden,” he said. “There’s literally nothing, as a young man or as a full-grown adult that — my father in some way hasn’t had influence over. It does not serve either one of us.”
Hunter is now under federal criminal investigation for his business dealings. As far as the book deal goes, it is reported that he received a $2M advance.
The book was acquired in the fall of 2019, the Associated Press reports and will focus on Hunter’s public struggles with substance abuse that date back to his 2014 discharge from the Navy Reserve due to a positive cocaine test. His finances are currently under Department of Justice investigation.
In a snippet released by Gallery, the younger Biden writes in his book, “I come from a family forged by tragedies and bound by a remarkable, unbreakable love.”
Sources tell the Daily Mail that Hunter likely received an advance as high as $2 million and could earn millions more if he allows his life story to be filmed.
In their first magazine interview since moving into the White House, Joe and Jill Biden received kid-glove treatment by People magazine. That’s right – their first interview went to People. One interesting question was asked, though, among all the fluff, when the reporter dared to bring up ethics and Hunter’s business dealings.
One of the first things you did as president was sign tough new ethics rules for appointees. As a father who saw son Hunter [and his business deals in Ukraine and China] come under scrutiny, are you putting up guardrails for family and friends, too, to avoid any appearance of wrongdoing?
President Biden: We’re going to run this like the Obama-Biden administration. No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy. And nobody has an office in this place.
He’s going to run it like the Obama-Biden administration? Holy cow. That is when Hunter hitched a ride on Air Force Two and made his connections in Ukraine and China that produced his sweet, sweet deals. Last week the White House press secretary was questioned about an investment he still has with a company controlled and funded by the Chinese government. She said, “he is still untangling his investments with Bohai HarvestRST (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Co., known as BHR.”
“He has been working to unwind his investment but I would certainly point you — he’s a private citizen — I would point you to him or his lawyers on the outside on any update,” Psaki said during her daily briefing.
His continued stake in the company comes despite his father’s pledge that Hunter or other family members would not be involved in any businesses or enterprises that would create conflicts with his administration.
BHR is controlled and funded through the Chinese government including the Bank of China.
Oh. I’m sure everything is fine. Biden took a shot at Ivanka Trump by saying none of his family members will have an office in the White House or help make policy. No mention of how long Hunter will be dragging out that investment in China, though, and People didn’t bother to ask in a follow-up question. Don’t expect Walter Shaub to tweet about it, either.