President Trump is now calling on China to investigate the business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
“China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” Trump told reporters outside the White House, before flying to Florida to talk to retirees about healthcare.
The president is currently facing impeachment over his asking the president of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The president said hasn’t yet directly asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to investigate his most likely opponent in the 2020 election, but he’s thinking about it.
“When Biden’s son walks out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund, and the biggest funds in the world can’t get money out of China, and he’s there for one quick meeting and he flies in on Air Force Two, I think that’s a horrible thing,” Trump said.
The president is referring to a trip that Hunter Biden, the VP’s son, took with his dad to China in 2013, where Hunter Biden had a brief meeting and created an investment fund and, in the president’s telling, got $1.5 billion in funding from the Chinese.
But that’s not exactly what happened. It’s not clear exactly when the fund got the cash, but a full six months after the Bidens left China, the Wall Street Journal reported that the fund was seeking $1.5 billion in investments. Hunter Biden didn’t walk out of the country with his pockets full of money.
Hunter Biden didn’t take a financial stake in the company until after his dad left office.
“Discussion of the Bidens is part of a deflection strategy,” said Yoshiko Herrera, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and former director of the Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia. “It’s like breaking into someone’s house and then saying, ‘That person had bad credit.’”
Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China may create some appearance of impropriety, and it’s unclear what the fund would have gained from him besides access to his father. Still, the Trump White House isn’t squeaky clean on conflicts of interests itself.
Last year, Ivanka Trump won seven Chinese trademarks. Trump himself has refused to divest from his own company while serving as president.
Cover: US President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, for Florida on October 3, 2019. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)