There is no “Biden crime family”: There’s really not much to the Republicans’ “Biden Crime Family” talking point.
A Joe Biden Crime Family?
At some point early on in the current Congress, Republicans apparently seized on a talking point: To refer to President Biden and his family as the “Biden Crime Family.” This way, they could point to any wrongdoing by Hunter Biden, and any other member of the family, and tie it to President Biden.
This has been spread frequently by the main interrogators of Hunter Biden, led by the House Oversight Committee and the New York Post.
The analogy, obviously, is to a family in the Mafia. In an organized crime family, the boss is at the top of a pyramid, with other relatives (and associated people who work with them) working for that boss in various criminal enterprises. In this case, President Biden would be the boss, or the don, with other relatives below him and kicking up to him.
However, that analogy, when applied to the Bidens, breaks down in several ways. For one thing, it’s not entirely clear that the Biden family members, other than Hunter, have committed any crimes at all. Several members of the family were involved in business deals overseas in which they collected money, but it has been far from established that any of those deals were illegal. And they have also fallen well short of establishing that President Biden did anything illegal or improper in relation to any of his son’s business arrangements.
Talking about a “crime family” allows opponents of the president to hold up the fiction that President Biden has been a key part of wrongdoing when the facts don’t come close to holding up that narrative.
Sure, Hunter Biden has been compared to Fredo Corleone. But that analogy would only hold if Don Vito Corleone had never been part of the mob.
Writing for The Hill this week, former CNN host Bill Press struck back against the “Crime Family” narrative, following the testimony of former Hunter Biden business partner Devon Archer.
Archer had testified that while Hunter had sometimes put his father on the phone with business associates, President Biden did not actually have any involvement with any business deals, and did not discuss the deals during those phone calls. Archer also testified that President Biden never took any action in order to help his son’s business deals. And Archer made clear that he had heard nothing of the dodgy accusation that both Joe and Hunter Biden had received $5 million bribes.
“There’s only one problem. Either Comer and Jordan weren’t listening to Archer’s testimony or they didn’t read the transcript before releasing it,” Press wrote. “Because the transcript shows that not only did Archer provide no evidence of illegal actions by Joe or Hunter, he directly
Press also pointed to another recent president whose family members have earned massive amounts of money overseas.
“If their goal is to expose a major ‘crime family,’ Comer and Jordan are looking in the wrong place,” Press said of the Republican leaders of the Oversight and Judiciary Committees. “There’s another family nearby in which the father’s been charged with 78 crimes and he and two sons have been charged with widespread financial fraud. Their last name’s not Biden. It’s Trump.”
“The Grand Old Party is like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. It has churned through so many wild allegations against the ‘Biden crime family’ that its moment of self-righteous indignation risks getting lost in the noise,” Washington correspondent David Smith wrote of the efforts.
“The fixation seems a kind of displacement. Republicans have never found targets as rich as Barack Obama, the first Black president, or Hillary Clinton, who aimed to be the first female president. Biden never excited the base in the same way. Hunter and his troubles are a poor substitute.”
Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.