written by Valerie Morales
When Donald Trump focused his attention on his enemy’s son, he was acting in thuggish character. Trump punishes those he fears and although Hunter Biden was a pawn, his father matters greatly. Hunter’s father may humiliate Trump and snatch the presidency from him, and so the familiar tricks were back in play, maneuvering covertly and with manipulation.
Although this current drama that has brought impeachment lines up with the rest of the Trump scandals, most of Trump’s misdeeds have entered like a lion and died like a lamb. Charleston could not bring Donald Trump to a racial reckoning. Misogyny could not dissuade white female voters.. Russia and collusion were more theatrics with not much solved except friends of Trump in the slam. His own lawyer telling trade secrets about him only regurgitated the continuing story. It would take something that Trump did on the job to bring him to the brink of ruin. He needed the very fragile and entitled son of his enemy to kick the can down the road and bring us here.
Donald Trump, who has privileged sons, is in jeopardy because of an enemy who has privileged sons. It is paradoxical that he is walking the plank because of someone just like him. Not an immigrant. Not a kneeling NFL-er. But the son of a rich guy. For the past three years, Donald Trump Jr. has been the poster boy for white privileged son who owes his father the moon. Until Hunter Biden came on to the scene to remind us Donald Trump’s power is corrupt.
Impeachment is the natural consequence to a presidency invested in spying, leaks, mistrust, drama and recklessness. Did I mention lies? Impeachment is a reckoning that has to take place because Trump’s unabashed abuse of power has been legitimized as a thing. His desire to whack his enemies, and the rich man entitlement that allows him to do whatever he wants and then whine on social media that there are consequences has led us to this very critical place in American history.
But we have to be accountable too, not just for Trump’s ascendency, some of us put him there, but for lowering the bar as a result of his behavior. The changing of standards which we have incentivized has marked many of us with the same incompetent mark as Trump. We legitimized the worst traits of Trump’s character and then rationalized it as symptomatic of his age or his racism or his stupidity because we are not tough enough to stand in the liars club that we helped create and demand that he atone for his sins, and our own. What we fail to do as a human population, impeachment will do for us. Impeachment will ask and answer the questions. It will have the last word.
Like many children of privileged parents, Hunter Biden was handed a job he had no qualifications for. But what he had in his back pocket was a father who was VP of the United States. The younger Biden had access to the powerful and his timing was luscious. Right before he took over natural gas company Burisma, Ukraine went democratic. Ukraine was looking for a big brother to protect them from Russia the bully. The U.S. was perfect. And Hunter Biden was their liaison.
An imperfect man, Hunter Biden is a lawyer with a queasy past that includes an addiction history that he calls “a dark tunnel”, a failed marriage, a romance with his dead brother’s widow. A woman in Arkansas wants child support and is suing though Hunter Biden denies he is the father. In the late 90’s, he used his connections to get a job in the Clinton administration. When Hunter Biden reflects on his life and talks about living paycheck to paycheck as if he is struggling, he forgets. He was born on third base and acts like he hit a triple. His kids were in private school at Sidwell Friends and he lived in an exclusive neighborhood. His financial stress was based on his choices as were his life hiccups.
The law firm where Hunter Biden was “of counsel” Boies, Schiller and Flexner provided advice to Ukraine. At the same time, his father as Vice President was in charge of overseeing Ukraine. The official word was that it wasn’t a conflict of interest because Hunter was a private citizen. That his father was Vice President, that Hunter was very close to his father, didn’t seem to register to some but alarmed many. At the very least, Hunter Biden, who at times can be emotionally fragile, should have understood the optics considering the enormous scorn the Obama presidency was receiving from Republicans and racists alike.
Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine has been examined ad nauseum and no one can find evidence that he did anything improper, nothing that any other son of a powerful man hasn’t done, meaning he used his last name to line his pockets with money and as an aside help a tiny country stabilize.The normalization of whoring out your last name is common enough for most to yawn and blame it on how the rich do their business.
Madeline Albright, who was Secretary of State under Bill Clinton and very well respected, began a hedge fund that was run by her son in law. Similar to Hunter Biden, she monetized the Albright name for financial gain in foreign countries, as reported by Sarah Chayes of the Atlantic.
A close friend of mine commented that Hunter Biden was partly responsible for this mess; he shouldn’t have put his father in this position. He should have known better. Perhaps, in a perfect world of parents and their children. I reminded my friend that white privilege is an only child who only thinks about itself. The Bidens of the world have been enabled to do whatever they want without much oversight until something extreme happens.
As Chayes points out, “When this same Biden takes his son with him to China aboard Air Force Two, and within days Hunter joins the board of an investment advisory firm with stakes in China, it doesn’t matter what father and son discussed. Joe Biden has enabled this brand of practice, made it bipartisan orthodoxy.”
Chayes calls it corruption. Perhaps. But ethically it is a primer on how the deck is stacked against the ordinary. Records indicate that in all of his positions Hunter Biden steered clear of his father’s business interests and while that may have established an acumen on his part- he tried to be careful- it cannot overlook and conflate opportunity with effort. Biden received consideration for many of those jobs because of who his father was. While the rest of us are rejected for who our fathers are not.
Fred Trump’s son has had multiple lives. He was supposed to be finished after the Access Hollywood tape, and after Charlottesville, and after the Mueller investigation. Impeachment is one more tight jam he has to escape. There will be a trial and Donald Trump will be forced into telling the truth. Gritting their teeth, the GOP will have to endure Trump’s incoherence and conflate it as leadership and efficacy. Already it’s off to a rocky start.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) didn’t exactly shelter Trump when he spoke on 60 Minutes. His evasiveness lent a familiar story. The GOP’s stonewall on behalf of their leader. They are the musicians on the Titanic that continue to play as the ship sinks into the depths of frigid waters.
Republicans can and will smirk because no U.S. president has been thrown out of office and the odds are long that it is Trump. Trump however can end a lot of careers if there isn’t careful analysis of the peril he is in. If the GOP waits too long.
This isn’t Bill Clinton. Getting blown in the Oval Office before briefings isn’t the same kind of thing as telling a foreign country to investigate the son of a rival. Bill Clinton was forced to acknowledge a personal secret based upon his character flaw. He likes sex with women who are not his wife. But that does not compare on the scale of atrocious when you take into account Trump did something despicable on the job. And he only did it because rich men like to stack the deck, to not be humiliated in a loss, to paper their own legacy with back room deals.
Can Trump survive himself and this moment. Yes. And no. The odds of impeachment in the Senate are slim and so he’ll be acquitted and yet that will anger those who want to oust him. They will rant about how the system failed and how white privilege wins again and how the GOP is corrupt. A rabid fury will energize both Democrats and Independents to get out to the polls and vote Trump out.
A narcissistic man who loves a game show and loves reality television and loves firing the incompetent, Trump has to walk his own walk and it is about time. He has to tell the truth under oath. He has to coherently defend himself. And then he has to watch his trade war wreck economic stability. The wealthy are already liquidating assets to cash, just in case.
And so this is nothing more than chess. An impeachment and reelection board game. The beauty of chess though is not the move you make but the secondary move that traps your opponent and in response, they flail and panic. They quit.