Friday’s White House press briefing featured an important and welcome surprise as CBS senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang used her front-row spot in the Briefing Room to repeatedly question Press Secretary Jen Psaki about the administration’s role in the upcoming sale of Hunter Biden’s art collection in New York City.
And besides Jiang, the other notable questioners were less surprising (but nonetheless equally important) as Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann asked about critical race theory and the origins of the coronavirus while the New York Post’s Steven Nelson asked about the extent to which President Biden was involved in his son’s shady business dealings.
Going back to Jiang, her first Hunter question immediately cut to the chase: “Did the White House play any role in crafting the sales agreement with the New York Gallery to protect the purchasers — or the ultimate purchasers’ identity?”
Instead of duck and dodge the question, Psaki read prepared remarks that confirmed an administration’s role, explaining in part that, “after careful consideration, a system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards.”
She added that Hunter “has the right to pursue an artistic career, just like any child of a president has the right to pursue a career but all interactions regarding the selling of art in the setting of prices will be handled by a professional gallerist adhering to the highest industry standards” and could reject “any offer out of the normal course.”
But as our friend Jerry Dunleavy tweeted, there are some important follow-ups, such as: How would one expect to keep the identities of those who bought Hunter’s art once the purchases go through? And without knowing who would have interest in currying favor with the Biden family, how would an art dealer be able to truly keep things above board?
Psaki claimed that the identities of purchasers will be concealed, so Jiang used her lone follow-up to focus that second question:
But the gallery owner is a private citizen who you might not be privy to who might have some interest in purchasing this artwork. Is the White House doing anything to work with the owner to make sure there is not impropriety there when it is ultimately sold?
Unsurprisingly, Psaki’s reply made absolutely no sense: “Well, I think it would be challenging for an anonymous person who we don’t know and Hunter Biden doesn’t know to have influence, so that’s a protection.”
Roughly 15 minutes later, Wegmann got his turn and made them count by reminding Psaki (along with his fellow reporters and viewers) that “[w]e’re almost halfway through the 90 day period that the White House has said for the U.S. intelligence community to redouble its efforts and analyze information about the origin of COVID-19.”
Once Psaki said she didn’t have any updates, Wegmann turned to anti-racism curriculum, critical race theory, and the antics of the teachers union (click “expand”):
WEGMANN: [D]elegates at the National Education Association. They approved the measure last week calling for support of “the implementation of culturally responsive education, critical race theory, and ethnic studies curriculum in pre-K through 12 and higher education. The President’s obviously a big fan of education. First lady is a teacher. She’s a union teacher. I’m wondering what are the President’s thoughts on anti racism curriculum in the classroom?
PSAKI: Well, the President believes that in our history, there’s many dark moments and there is not just slavery and racism in our history. There is systemic racism that is still impacting society today and he believes as I believe as a parent of children that kids should learn about our history. So, as the spouse of an educator, and as somebody who is — continues to believe that children should learn not just the good but also the challenging in our history, and that’s part of what we’re talking about here, even as it’s become politically charged.
Nelson brought the briefing back to the topic of Hunter Biden, citing e-mails and photos that allegedly came from the scandal-ridden First Family member’s laptop. Needless to say, Psaki refused to engage and all but dismissed it as a conspiracy theory (click “expand”):
NELSON: As a candidate, President Biden said — and I’m quoting: “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings. But recently, photographs and documents have called that into question. In 2015, President Biden — as vice president — met Cafe Milano with his son’s Ukrainian, Russian, and Kazakhstani business associates one day before at Brisbane executive thanked the first son for the opportunity to meet his father and also in 2015 as vice president, the President hosted at the Naval Observatory, Mexican business associates of Biden before Hunter Biden e-mailed these associates from Air Force Two the next year going to Mexico. So I’ve had a two part question: Was President Biden indeed unaware that his son was pursuing business opportunities with these people he met? And also, according to recent reporting, the First Son still has taken Chinese investment company. When is he going to download that?
PSAKI: On the last part, he’s working to unload that. I’d point you to his representatives. The President does not discuss business dealings with family members and otherwise, I’m not going to respond to Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer.
To see the transcript of a far-left voting rights question from American Urban Family Radio’s Ebony McMorris and two questions about rising gas prices from Gray TV’s Jon Decker (as well as the exchanges mentioned above), click here.