CNN took a rare swipe Sunday at Hunter Biden’s business of selling art by suggesting the “president’s son” is causing a “huge optics problem” for the White House.
“I don’t know anything about art, but these people do. One Pulitzer-Prize winning art critic says that he thinks that Hunter Biden’s art is kind of like a cafe painter. He says, you wouldn’t, unless you were related to the artist, spend more than $1,000 on it,” CNN’s Abby Phillip said. “But then another art critic, who actually likes Hunter Biden’s work also says this, ‘Anybody who buys it would be guaranteed instant profit. He’s the president’s son.'”
“Obviously, this is a problem, an ethical problem, one of optics, but also just from a practical perspective,” Philip stated. “Why even do this?”
CNN's Abby Phillip on Hunter Biden's art selling scheme:
"Obviously, this is a problem, an ethical problem" pic.twitter.com/9hTAez35p3
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 25, 2021
“This is a huge optics problem, an ethics problem,” CNN reporter Melania Zanona agreed. “And making it more challenging is that it is art and the value is assigned. That’s why critics are saying different things.”
“Obviously, the White House is trying to get some sort of wrap around this, they’re trying to come up with an arrangement that will make it look better. But, you know, they’re worried about it,” she continued.
“I find it hard to believe there is any such thing as a blind sale when you’re purchasing art from the president’s son,” Phillip reiterated.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday could not identify any “procedures” to ensure Hunter Biden’s “art” sales to “anonymous” investors at up to $500,000 are ethical.
“Will he get ethics training? Will he have to report afterwards about the conversations? Anything specific you can tell us about you are monitoring?” a reporter asked.
Psaki regurgitated a frequent response, suggesting Hunter “is not involved in the sale or discussions about the sale of his art,” and that Hunter will not be “informed” of “who is purchasing his art.”
Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), told Fox News, “Their [White House’s] solution of transparency is to actually hide who is engaged in the transaction. It’s ludicrous.”
Art critics, too, are coming forward with concerns.
Senior Art Critic Jerry Saltz on Friday tweeted, “imagine” if Donald Trump Jr. “made little watercolors” like Hunter Biden’s “art” and “sold them at an iffy commercial gallery for upwards of $150,000.”
Artnet News’s national art critic Ben Davis published the headline, “Hey Hunter Biden, Here’s a Radically Simple Solution for All Your Art Woes: Don’t Sell Your Work,” with the subtitle, “If Hunter Biden wants his art to be received outside a political black box, his best bet is not to sell it.”
Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations last year identified the art world as “an environment ripe for laundering money.
“Secrecy, anonymity, and a lack of regulation create an environment ripe for laundering money and evading sanctions,” the committee said. “Given the intrinsic secrecy of the art industry, it is clear that change is needed in this multi-billion dollar industry.”
Meanwhile, Hunter is expected to attend two art shows this fall in New York City and Los Angeles to be present to meet the “anonymous” investors.
When Hunter was asked what his father might think of his newfound occupation, Hunter replied, “My dad loves everything that I do, and so I’ll leave it at that.”
Breitbart News previously reported the entire art venture has prompted ethics concerns, particularly given Hunter’s past work as his father served as vice president — making deals with Chinese officials and earning tens of thousands of dollars per month serving on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian oligarch-owned oil and gas company, despite having no experience in the energy sector.
Joe Biden would later brag about threatening to withhold aid from Ukraine unless officials fired the prosecutor conducting a corruption investigation into Burisma.
But instead of making the transactions more transparent and open, the Biden administration is hoping to strike a deal to make buyers of Hunter Biden’s artwork, which is expected to sell for up to half a million dollars, anonymous.