Biden Says Shouldn't Make Money While in Office, But Son Profiting from Family Name Is Apparently Okay
President Joe Biden said at an event in New Hampshire on Tuesday that he didn’t think it was right for politicians to a make money beyond their salary while in office.
But apparently he was fine with his son Hunter Biden profiting from the family name and kicking some of that money back to the “big guy.”
“When I was running for office — you heard it a thousand times from me: That we’re going to build an economy around you. I’m so tired of trickle-down economics. And I never found that trickle down on top of my head very much,” Biden told those gathered at the New Hampshire Port Authority facility in Portsmouth.
“I had the great pleasure of being listed as the poorest man in Congress for 36 years,” he continued.
Biden acknowledged he was “making a hell of a lot more money” than most thanks to his senator’s salary.
But, he added, “I didn’t think you should make money while you’re in office.”
President Biden: “I’m so tired of trickle-down economics. I never found that trickle-down on top of my head very much. I had the great pleasure of being listed as the poorest man in Congress for 36 years. […] I didn’t think you should make money while you’re in office.” pic.twitter.com/PjKtXUPA3t
— The Hill (@thehill) April 19, 2022
Though his message was garbled, it seems what Biden was trying to say is that politicians shouldn’t profit off their position in government beyond their salary.
In 2008, the last year Biden served in the Senate, he was paid $169,300. As vice president he earned $230,700 per year.
However high-minded Biden’s remarks may sound, text messages reportedly retrieved from Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop indicate the family patriarch benefited financially from his son’s business dealings.
“I hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years,” Hunter wrote to his daughter Naomi in January 2019, the New York Post reported.
“It’s really hard. But don’t worry, unlike pop, I won’t make you give me half your salary.”
“Pop” refers to Joe Biden.
The laptop, turned in to a Delaware repair shop in April 2019, contains evidence that shows Hunter paid for some of his father’s household expenses while he was vice president.
For example, there is an email from Hunter’s business partner Eric Schwerin — dated June 5, 2010 and titled “JRB Bills.”
Schwerin was president of the firm Rosemont Seneca Partners, and JRB are the president’s initials, standing for Joseph Robinette Biden.
The bills concerned Biden’s lakefront mansion in Wilmington, Delaware.
Hunter complained: ‘I hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years.
‘It’s really hard. But don’t worry, unlike Pop [Joe], I won’t make you give me half your salary.’
— Together We Win; I deal in facts! (@Mickeegee2020) July 5, 2021
“There were $1,239 in repairs to an air conditioner at ‘mom-mom’s cottage,’ and another $1,475 to a painter for ‘back wall and columns at the lake house.’ There was also another $2,600 for fixing up a ‘stone retaining wall at the lake’ and $475 ‘for shutters,’” the Post reported.
How did Hunter Biden earn his money?
As former President Donald Trump highlighted during the 2020 presidential race, some came from business dealings Hunter entered into while his father was in office including eventually entities in Ukraine and China.
Hunter took a position on Burisma’s board in April 2014, months after his father was named the Obama administration’s point man for Ukraine.
He reportedly was paid upward of $50,000 a month to sit on the board, stepping down from the post in 2019.
Additionally, the New Yorker reported that Hunter traveled with his vice president father to China in December 2013.
There, the younger Biden met with Chinese financier Jonathan Li, who ran the private-equity fund Bohai Capital.
Hunter then arranged a meeting with his father and Li.
“Ten days later, the Chinese business license for Bohai Harvest — the company that Hunter Biden and Devon Archer had been trying to launch for more than a year — was approved,” according to the Post.
In July 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that the new Bohai Harvest venture capital fund aimed to raise $1.5 billion.
Interestingly, one of the largest stakeholders in Bohai was the communist state-owned Bank of China International Holdings Ltd.
After Trump brought up the issue during the 2020 presidential campaign, FactCheck.org looked into the matter and found Bohai Harvest reported managing assets by that time in excess of $2.1 billion.
Hunter’s attorney told the fact checker his client did not take an ownership stake in the company until after his father left office.
However, Hunter did serve on the board of the Bohai Harvest while Joe Biden was vice president.
These deals and others indicate that though Joe Biden may say it is not right to profit from his public office, he had no issue with his son doing so.