Press Secretary Jen Psaki checks her notes before answering a question during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 6, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)
During a Thursday briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended Hunter Biden’s decision to meet with potential buyers of his art on the grounds that he won’t be personally negotiating prices.
The president’s son will attend two gallery showings of his paintings in Los Angeles and New York later this year, where he is expected to meet potential buyers, CBS reported on Wednesday. The paintings could be sold for as much as $500,000, an arrangement that has been criticized by various ethics experts.
“We have no way of monitoring whether people are buying access to the White House,” Walter Shaub, head of the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to 2017, told the Washington Post earlier this month.
Psaki claimed on Thursday that Hunter Biden will not “have any conversation related to the selling of art. That will be left to the gallerist” according to an arrangement the White House announced earlier this month.
“We believe that this is a reasonable system…that allows Hunter Biden to work in his profession with appropriate safeguards,” Psaki added.
When a reporter asked why the White House wouldn’t just release the names of the buyers, Psaki repeated that the White House and Hunter Biden will not know who the buyers are.
“We won’t know who they are, so there’s no scenario where they could provide influence,” Psaki said.
“Can’t they just announce on social media that they bought a painting?” the reporter asked.
“Again, I think we have set up a system…[that] has appropriate safeguards,” Psaki responded. “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 will be through the gallerist.”
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