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Commentary

Biden Officials' Family Members Are Working for White House in Spite of President's Vow

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In a February interview, to allay one of the more significant conflict-of-interest fears voters had regarding President Joe Biden’s nascent administration, Biden said there’d be absolutely no one from his family working in the federal government.

The remarks came when a People magazine interviewer brought up the ugly specter of Biden’s son, Hunter, and his work for Ukrainian energy giant Burisma while his father was the Obama administration’s point-man on Ukraine, as well as Hunter’s ties to China. Asked if the president was “putting up guardrails for family and friends, too, to avoid any appearance of wrongdoing,” Biden insisted he was.

“We’re going to run this like the Obama-Biden administration,” Biden said. “No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy. And nobody has an office in this place.”

The first part of that answer should have been a red flag, considering the conflicts of interest People’s Sandra Sobieraj Westfall was asking about happened during the Obama-Biden administration. A Senate report in October confirmed that Obama administration officials were concerned about Hunter’s work in Ukraine, but nothing was done about it, according to The Wall Street Journal.

But Biden has been true to his word, at least as it concerned his own family. Hunter Biden is still pursuing his art career and/or getting some tax advice. The president’s brother, James Biden, is likely more worried about the federal probe against him than about preparing a resumé any position in the federal government. His other brother, Frank, is apparently using his name in the private sector but not in the Biden adminsitration.

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However, if the president was inferring that he was going to run a ship “like the Obama-Biden administration” and that there’d be no nepotism leaking into the hull, it turns out the Biden-Harris administration is taking on a lot of water, just not from people who have a Biden in their genealogy report

A Tuesday report in the New York Post detailed the extent of the problem. While there are quite a few individuals who have close family members in high places, the two names you’ll be most familiar with are Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Blinken’s wife, Evan Ryan, is the White House cabinet secretary. As the Post noted, the position “serves as the main point of contact between the White House and the other departments and agencies in the federal government.” That’s a fair bit of mojo right there — and she needed no Senate approval for the job (unlike her husband).

Ryan also held employment in the Obama administration as an assistant secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the State Department.

Do you think Hunter Biden should face legal consequences for his work with Burisma?

Her husband, by the way, was also employed in the Obama administration in a variety of roles, including national security advisor to then-Vice President Joe Biden.

Then there’s White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Her sister, Stephanie Psaki, is a senior adviser for the Department of Health and Human Services.

“She took on her new role, where her official title is senior adviser on human rights and gender equity in the Office of Global Affairs, this March,” the Post reported.

“The Psaki who works at HHS has a Ph.D. in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She previously worked at the Population Council, a nonprofit conducting research and building research capabilities in developing countries.”

All perfectly fine jobs and a decent CV, but the Biden administration couldn’t find anyone else with that resumé to take the position? Apparently it is going to run “like the Obama-Biden administration,” just not the way President Biden intended those words to be taken.

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It’s not just Blinken and Psaki. National security adviso Jake Sullivan, senior adviser Anita Dunn, counselor Steve Richetti, deputy chief of staff Bruce Reed and Presidential Personnel Office director Cathy Russell all have at least one relative employed by the administration, according to the Post.

Sullivan, in particular, seems to be a repeat offender.

As the Post reported:

Sullivan’s wife, Maggie Goodlander, is counsel to Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Justice Department; she previously clerked with him at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tom Sullivan, Jake’s brother, is the State Department’s deputy chief of staff for policy. He held the same position during the Obama administration. Rose Baumann Sullivan, Tom Sullivan’s wife, is the acting assistant secretary for legislation at the Department of Health and Human Services. Before this, she was a high-powered lobbyist.

Every one of these jobs is important. And that means every one of them brings a potential scandal — if the Biden campaign hadn’t been supported so slavishly by the mainstream media and Big Tech, the Hunter Biden scandal would have sunk his presidential hopes. Banking on that kid-gloves treatment for lesser-known figures is a big gamble for the Biden White House. Families, Biden should know, can be a liability.

No, there are no Bidens in the federal government not named Joe at the moment. They aren’t working on behalf of foreign governments or for the White House.

But note the president’s words: “We’re going to run this like the Obama-Biden administration. No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy. And nobody has an office in this place.”

He may have spoken for himself — except for that first sentence, which I continue returning to. This was going to be “like the Obama-Biden administration.”

What Biden was implying was that this wasn’t a White House where nepotism would play a role. He’s the captain of the ship, after all, and he was throwing down the rules of how it was going to be run.

What he meant, instead, was that this was going to be exactly like the Obama administration. Back then, Hunter Biden may have been running loose as a highly remunerated quasi-political figure despite the fact, as then-Vox writer Matthew Yglesias noted last August, he was a man who “never really seems to have quite launched as an independent entity.” But, no, now he’s busy with his artwork.

James and Frank Biden also appear to be laying low — or at least staying out of the news.

As for everyone else’s families, however, the good ship Nepotism has been sailing onward and upward during the Biden administration.

And yet, remember the hand-wringing and outrage when former President Donald Trump’s children got involved in the White House, no matter what their experience?

Remember the invective aimed at Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, the stories published with poorly sourced innuendo about how much other people in the White House hated him? Remember the media stink-eye permanently aimed in the direction of Ivanka and Don Jr.?

That was all fine. As for this, well, it’s all fine, too. If it weren’t for double standards, the left wouldn’t have standards at all.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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