Former President Donald Trump mocked Hunter Biden’s controversial art exhibitions Friday, saying that the first son had inspired him to pick up a palette.
“While I have never painted before, Hunter has inspired me to immediately begin painting because I’ve always felt I have a talent at that, and could surely get at least $2 million dollars per canvas—and probably a lot more,” the 45th president said in an emailed statement, adding: “I will begin immediately. Our Country is crooked as hell!”
The Post reported last week that at least five prints of Hunter Biden’s artwork have already been sold for $75,000 a pop — while a team of lawyers vets potential attendees of his NYC gallery show scheduled to take place next spring.
In response to warnings from ethics experts that purchasing the art could serve as an opportunity to buy favor with the Biden administration, the White House has insisted that it will not know the identities of the buyers.
When asked by a Post reporter Tuesday if that promise still held, press secretary Jen Psaki answered: “It still is the purview of the gallerist. We still do not know and will not know who purchases any paintings. And the President remains proud of his son.”
Psaki then cut off further questions by asking: “Did you have another question on something else? Otherwise, we’re going to move on to some other topics. Lots going on in the world.”
That response earned Psaki a rebuke from former Office of Government Ethics head Walter Shaub.
“It’s disappointing to hear [Psaki] send a message that the WH thinks the public has no right to ask about ethics,” Shaub tweeted Wednesday. “After the last 4 years, these questions have never been more important. I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but this stuff matters.”
“There is no ethics program in the world that can be built around the head of state’s staff working with a dealer to keep the public in the dark about the identities of individuals who pay vast sums to the leader’s family member for subjectively priced items of no intrinsic value,” Shaub added.
When Biden himself was asked last Friday if he was concerned about potential corruption involving his son’s art sales, he looked a reporter for The Post in the eyes and said: “You gotta be kidding me.”
Trump also raged in his statement Friday against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who reached a settlement Thursday with the Justice Department over his 2018 firing that resulted in the restoration of his pension and other benefits.
“Isn’t it terrible that all of Andrew McCabe’s benefits, pensions, salary, etc., were just fully reinstated by the Justice Department?” Trump asked. “This is yet another mockery to our Country.”
The former president then alleged McCabe’s wife, who unsuccessfully ran for Virginia’s state Senate as a Democrat in 2015, had “received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Hillary Clinton and the Democrats while Crooked Hillary was under investigation, which was quickly dropped, of course.”
“What a bad chapter this has been for the once storied FBI—I hate to see it happening, so many GREAT people work there,” Trump lamented. “Next thing you know the two lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, will be getting awards for what they did, and Hunter Biden will be given a clean bill of health on everything done by him, with everyone to receive as payment a beautiful Hunter Biden inspired painting selling at your local art gallery for $500,000.”
McCabe sued the Justice Department and FBI in August 2019, arguing that his dismissal by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a political move ordered by Trump.
The Trump DOJ had justified McCabe’s firing by citing an internal probe that found he had authorized the leaking of information to the Wall Street Journal and lied to investigators about it. The settlement announced Thursday vacates Sessions’ decision to fire McCabe and expunges from his personnel folder any references to having been fired.
It does not, however, undo DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s finding that McCabe had not been candid with Horowitz’s investigators. The Justice Department also did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.