Politics

Hunter Biden, the painter who disturbs the White House

The new job of Joe Biden’s son worries. In the United States, there are concerns that the sale of Hunter’s paintings will attract not only art enthusiasts but people who seek to curry favor with the American president. A member of Congress has tabled a bill to control the finances of presidents’ children.

It is not always good to have an artist in the family. Hunter Biden, 51, started painting a few years ago. At the start of the school year, a sale will be organized at the Georges Bergès gallery in New York in October. Some fear that this creates a conflict of interest. How do you know if the buyers of Hunter’s paintings are spending on the art or on the Biden name? How to know if they are not hoping for favors from the White House by buying a painting for the president’s son.

The White Houses promises a control mechanism

Since coming to power, Joe Biden has promised to be ethically flawless, a complete break with his predecessor, Donald Trump. His administration cannot therefore close its eyes to the many questions journalists have on this subject.

It was therefore decided that a “system allowing Hunter Biden to practice his profession with safeguards” was to be put in place. In short: no negotiation will go through him. “Everything will be done by a professional gallery owner ,  assures the press service of the White House. It will not “deliver any information on potential buyers to Hunter or Joe Biden” , and“All exchanges concerning the sale of works and their amount will be conducted by a professional gallery owner, who follows the strictest rules. Any abnormal offer will be rejected,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Will this be enough? American  ethics experts say no. Several, questioned by the American press , express concerns about a potential influence peddling. What if the buyers were industrialists, financiers, Saudi or Chinese funds? For Walter Shaub, former director of the Office responsible for inspecting government ethics under Barack Obama, “Hunter Biden should cancel the sale . ” Especially since according to him, the prices of his paintings, between 75,000 and 500,000 dollars are based on the work of his father … and not his art.

The political sphere got involved on Wednesday July 28. A member of the House of Representatives, Mike Waltz , an absolute fan of Donald Trump who kept targeting Hunter Biden during his presidency, submitted a text. Called the “Painter Act,” it calls for the current president and all future presidents to publicly disclose their children’s finances . ” The president and vice president of the United States are obliged to reveal financial information concerning their children who no longer depend on them, as is the case with their wives and their children still dependent . ” The text should be voted on and has little chance of being adopted, since the Democrats are in the majority.

Hunter, the President’s embarrassing son

This is not the first time that Hunter Biden has been talked about. For four years, he was one of the favorite targets of Donald Trump and his supporters. Joe Biden’s son is accused of capitalizing on his name. When he was a businessman and his father was vice-president, he had economic interests in Ukraine, in particular for having accepted a mandate as director of a Ukrainian gas group, and in China where he still holds 10 % of an investment fund backed by the Chinese state. He is now targeted by an investigation into possible tax crimes . In the spring, he made people talk about him by releasing a book  : Les Belles Choses to Albin Michel editions on his addictions to alcohol and crack. The book’s release in France is scheduled for September 2021.

Today, he explains that painting is his salvation. “Painting keeps me sane ,  he told The New York Times last year. “The only thing I have left is my art. It’s the one thing that can’t be taken away from me. […] It keeps me away from people and places where I shouldn’t. to be “, he also confided. An art that is not appreciated by everyone. A journalist , winner of the Pulitzer for artistic criticism, believes that his work is not exceptional, that it is more “therapeutic” than artistic works.

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