The White House assured on Thursday Hunter Biden will not ‘discuss anything related to the selling of his art’ and insists the president won’t be privy to who purchases his son’s pieces.
‘He’s not going to have any conversations related to the selling of art, that will be left to the gallerist,’ President Joe Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during her daily briefing. ‘As was outlined in the agreement that we announced just a few weeks ago.’
‘So he’s not going to discuss anything related to the selling of art,’ she added. ‘And I would reiterate that the gallerist will be the only person who handles transactions or conversations in that vein and will reject any offer that is out of the ordinary.’
Psaki said this setup will allow the 51-year-old recovering drug addict to ‘pursue his passion’ just like ‘any child of the president.’
Hunter will be in attendance at both art exhibits in Los Angeles and New York, a spokesperson for Georges Bergès Gallery said. This is fueling concerns buyers could attempt to gain influence with the president as they mingle with his son.
But Psaki’s comments Thursday suggest that while Hunter will be there, he will not discuss the sale of his pieces with potential buyers.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that Hunter Biden will no ‘discuss anything related to the selling of his art’ – even though the president’s son will attend two exhibits with his art work in Lose Angeles and New York this fall
Psaki assured Hunter and the White House won’t know the identities of the sellers, ‘so there’s no scenario where they could provide influence’. She said Hunter, ‘just like any child of a president, should be able to pursue their professions and their passions’
‘We believe this is a reasonable system that has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within appropriate safeguards,’ she said of leaving the sale up to the gallerist.
The White House did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com when asked to clarify whether Hunter will appear at the exhibits and how they will ensure he won’t discuss his art’s sale with attendants.
She also said when asked if the White House will release the name of who purchases Hunter’s art: ‘Well, we won’t know who the buyers are. Hunter Biden won’t know who the buyers are.’
‘We won’t know who they are, so there’s no scenario where they could provide influence,’ Psaki assured – even if those sellers end up revealing themselves publicly.
‘We believe that Hunter Biden, just like any child of a president, should be able to pursue their professions and their passions. And any selling of the art would be through the gallerist,’ she concluded.
An Obama-era ethics chief slammed Hunter amid revelations he could meet with prospective buyers of his paintings.
The LA and NYC exhibits are scheduled for the fall, and will feature Hunter’s artworks shortly before they are put up for sale.
Hunter’s large oil paintings are expected to fetch upwards of $500,000 each when they go up for sale later this year – an eye-popping sum given that he has no formal art qualifications
Would you pay half a million for a Hunter Biden original? The eye-popping prices have prompted some to accuse Hunter of trying to cash in on his proximity to power
Hunter’s large oil paintings are expected to fetch upwards of $500,000 each – an eye-popping sum given that he has no formal art qualifications.
But Psaki said Thursday that the gallerists have been instructed to ‘reject any offer that is out of the ordinary.’ She did not expand on what an unordinary offer would be.
The upcoming sales have sparked speculation that people may purchase the paintings purely to gain influence with President Biden.
News that Hunter will be in attendance, potentially mingling with buyers, seemingly contradicts Psaki’s claim that the buyers would be ‘anonymous’ and that Hunter would not know who they are.
Walter Shaub, who was appointed by President Barack Obama and led the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to 2017, blasted Hunter for the move in an interview with CBS News on Thursday.
‘Is Hunter Biden going to walk around the art show with a blindfold on?’ Shaub sarcastically asked.
‘It just goes to show you the focus isn’t on government ethics. It’s just showing the child of a president can cash in on the presidency.’
The upcoming sales and exhibits have sparked speculation that people may purchase the paintings purely to gain influence with Hunter’s father, President Joe Biden
‘Is Hunter Biden going to walk around the art show with a blindfold on?’ former Obama ethics chief Walter Shaub sarcastically asked
A spokeswoman for Georges Bergès Gallery – who are selling Hunter’s paintings – confirmed Thursday that he will be in attendance at both of the art exhibits.
‘He’s looking forward to it. It is like someone debuting in the world… of course he will be there,’ spokeswoman Robin Davis told CBS News.
Davis stated that everyone invited to the two art shows would be ‘vetted’ to make sure that they are ‘appropriate”.
But Shaub says that puts the onus on the gallery to make sure everything is ethically above board.
He told CBS the Biden Administration is ‘outsourcing government ethics’ to the art gallery owner.
Davis did not disclose the dates of the two art shows to CBS News.
DailyMail.com has contacted the Georges Bergès Gallery for further information.
Davis stated that Biden and Bergès have been friends ‘for years’ and that the art dealer ‘really wants to help Hunter’ as he begins his burgeoning career as a painter.
‘I think it’s all on the up and up,’ she stated about Hunter’s mid-life career change.
News of Hunter’s attendance at the two art shows comes just weeks after House Republicans launched a probe of President Biden’s family members
News of Hunter’s attendance at the two art shows comes just weeks after House Republicans launched a probe of President Biden’s family members, demanding answers from the White House on their efforts to ‘profit from proximity’ to power.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee accuse Hunter, President Biden’s brother Frank and sister Valerie of using Biden’s position to line their own pockets.
‘Reports regarding President Biden’s family members attempting to profit from their proximity to the White House have been disturbing and recurring,’ wrote Ranking Member James Comer and the Republican lawmakers.
‘Unfortunately, these reports of President Biden using his former official positions of public trust to swell the coffers of his family members are widespread, and any hope the pattern of family self-dealing would finally stop when he assumed the presidency has been dashed.’
House Republicans asked for documents relating to Hunter Biden’s artwork, a list of past and ongoing foreign business interests of members of the Biden family, a list of their speaking engagements, and any policies designed to ensure they do not profit from the presidency
Details of the letters, sent to the White House Counsel’s Office and the National Archives and Records Administration, were first reported by Fox News.
The White House has come under pressure to explain how it intends to ensure that buyers of Hunter Biden’s paintings do not get special favors from the administration.
‘After careful consideration, a system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards,’ said White House press secretary Jen Psaki last week.
‘Of course, he has the right to pursue an artistic career just like any child of a president has the right to pursue a career.’
Berges has previously told Artnet the prices would start at $75,000 for Hunter’s works.
‘The prices for these paintings—by someone with no formal training or history as an artist – raise questions about whether the art is being offered for its merit or its connection to the White House,’ wrote the Republicans.
They also pointed the finger at a recent book deal for Biden’s sister.
‘This pattern – which appears to be nothing short of a cash-grab – continues beyond President Biden’s children. Just last week, it was reported that Valerie Biden Owens, the President’s ‘sister, confidante, and longtime political strategist,’ will publish a book presumably detailing her time as ‘The Joe Biden Whisperer.”
‘Growing Up Biden: A Memoir’ is due to be published by Celador Books next year.
The letter also cited press reports about his brother Frank, describing how he was depicted in an ad for a law firm he advises. ‘[t]he two Biden brothers have long held a commitment to pushing environmental issues to the forefront,’ it said.
The letter asks for documents relating to Hunter Biden’s artwork, a list of past and ongoing foreign business interests of members of the Biden family, a list of their speaking engagements, and any policies designed to ensure they do not profit from the presidency.
A spokesperson for the Biden Administration told CBS on Wednesday: ”The president has established the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history, and his family’s commitment to rigorous processes like this is a prime example.’