Irony is dead: The Trump sons are doing everything possible to make corruption a major 2020 issue

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump at a UFC event in Newark in August 2019. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump really should sit this Hunter Biden thing out.

A central tenet of Trumpism is never to pass up an opportunity to attack your political foes, but if there’s one situation the president’s children really should stay out of it’s the one unfurling over Joe Biden’s son’s business ties.

To be clear, there’s no doubt that Hunter Biden leveraged his family name into positions he was otherwise unqualified for — like the $50,000-a-month gig on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma that President Donald Trump and his enablers are now desperately trying to spin into a scandal.

But if anyone should sit out trying to exploit the situation it is the Trump children, who would not be as rich or as famous as they are if it weren’t for their father. And yet on Wednesday night, both Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. went on Fox News and tried to exploit it anyway.

The hypocrisy and irony of clips like the one below — pushed by an arm of the Trump campaign despite Eric and Don Jr.’s (broken) promise to stay out of politics so conflicts of interest could be avoided between their father and the family business they now manage on his behalf — is truly staggering:

Hunter Biden “didn’t know anything about the industry he was in, he didn’t have any discernible duties, and he’s getting paid $50,000 a month? And then he gets a billion five from China?

…the entire media turns a blind eye.” –@EricTrump pic.twitter.com/g11jUsT5M3

— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) October 3, 2019

The implication of the conspiracy theory Eric Trump pushed on The Ingraham Angle and Don Jr. on Hannity is that Hunter Biden’s international business dealings created conflicts of interest for the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

Donald Trump Jr managed to say this with a straight face about Hunter Biden cashing in on his family name: “If I went to China and did that … we would solve the media problem, because their heads would explode. There would be no fake news media left.” pic.twitter.com/81CbxDNXIc

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 3, 2019

Leaving aside the dubiousness of the specific numbers Eric and Don Jr. throw out about the amount of money Hunter Biden made in Ukraine and China, and the fact there’s absolutely no evidence that Obama’s foreign policies were influenced by corrupt motives, even if the Trumps’ point is granted, they themselves are guilty of everything they’re accusing the Bidens of — and then some.

Since Trump’s inauguration, Don Jr. and Eric have been responsible for the Trump Organization, which sprawls across more than 30 countries, about 500 business entitles, and according to Trump generated about $9.5 billion in revenue before he took office. And they certainly haven’t put things on pause during their father’s term in office.

Just hours before the Trumps’ Fox News appearances, Forbes reported that Eric and Don Jr. have sold more than $100 million of the family’s real estate since the January 2017 inauguration — including a $3.2 million deal in the Dominican Republic last year that is “the clearest violation of their father’s pledge to do no new foreign deals while in office.” Foreign money has also poured into the Trump International Hotel, located just blocks from the White House, which the president’s most recent financial disclosure indicated made him $41 million last year alone.

In addition to Ukraine, the Trumps have also accused Hunter Biden of cashing in in China. But as the New York Times detailed in August, a $1.7 billion Trump Organization project in Indonesia received a $500 billion infusion from a state-owned Chinese construction company. And it’s not just Eric and Don Jr.; Ivanka Trump, despite working in the White House, continues to do business in China as well.

I’m old enough to remember November of 2018 when we learned Ivanka Trump received 16 trademarks from China, including some for voting machines, that she had long sought. She received more in Jan of 2019 as trade negotiations intensified. https://t.co/ecnkD85LOL

— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) October 3, 2019

And last year, Ivanka’s husband, White House official Jared Kushner, received a massive cash infusion from Qatar.

But none of this seems to give the Trump sons pause. Donald Trump Jr. has attacked Democrats for alleged sexual misconduct, despite the fact that his father has been accused of misconduct by more than 20 women. He has attacked Bernie Sanders for receiving support from Russians in 2016, despite the central role he played in the Trump campaign’s efforts to solicit Russian help. In back-to-back tweets posted last Thursday, Eric Trump bashed Hunter Biden for his alleged profiteering from corruption, but then in his very next post bragged about a new Trump Organization development in Scotland.

In short, the Trumps are totally shameless — to the extent that the first president in recent history to not divest himself from his personal businesses is doing everything possible to turn corruption into a central 2020 issue. In fact, to hear Don Jr. tell it, the Trump family deserves credit for not being even more corrupt.

“We could have kept doing deals,” he said during a recent trip to Indonesia to hype the aforementioned Trump Organization project there, as though his family business hadn’t shattered the bogus promise it made to stop them in the first place. “The media is never going to give us credit.”


The news moves fast. To stay updated, follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter, and read more of Vox’s policy and politics coverage.

Powered by WPeMatico