The main difference between Hunter Biden and Jared Kushner

When Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., the right-wing firebrand and persistent thorn in House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s side, went on his Tuesday tirade criticizing Republican leadershiphe made a point to say that the House had not subpoenaed President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

“At this point, during Democratic control over the House of Representatives, they had already brought in Don Jr. three times,” he said, referring to former President Donald Trump’s son. “And we haven’t even sent the first subpoena to Hunter Biden.”

Hunter Biden, to hear some Republicans tell it, is key to getting to the bottom of crimes they insist, without evidence, that President Joe Biden has committed

The message was clear: Democrats had unfairly targeted Trump’s children, and Republicans had failed by not issuing a subpoena for Hunter Biden, who, to hear some Republicans tell it, is key to getting to the bottom of crimes they insist, without evidence, that President Joe Biden has committed.

On the opposite side of the aisle, when Hunter Biden was indicted in a Delaware federal court on three counts tied to possession of a gun while using narcotics, Democrats didn’t suggest the president’s son was the victim of persecution. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., a freshman on the House Oversight Committee, typified the Democrats’ talking points when he responded to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, from Donald Trump Jr. Moskowitz wrote, “If Hunter tried to obtain a gun illegally he should be indicted. And your dad who also broke the law should also be indicted. Both deserve a fair trial. This is called consistency.”

Indeed, throughout Hunter Biden’s tribulations, House Democrats have acted more than deferential toward the federal justice system. For example when a plea deal between Hunter Biden and U.S. Attorney David Weiss was announced (that plea deal would eventually fall apart), Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said the announcement reflected “the Justice Department’s continued institutional independence in following the evidence of actual crimes and enforcing the rule of law even in the face of constant criticism and heckling by my GOP colleagues.”

As for Trump’s family: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invested $2 billion in a fledgling private equity firm owned by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former President Trump six months after Trump left office. According to a report in The New York Times, MBS made that investment in Kushner’s firm even though a screening panel advised against it. A year ago, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit against the former president, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump and the Trump Organization. “With the help of his children and senior executives at the Trump Organization, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system,” James said then.

But Republicans have shown no interest in investigating Trump’s children. “I have been vocal that I think that what Kushner did crossed the line of ethics,” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., told CNN’s Jake Tapper last month. “But … it happened after he left office. Still no excuse, Jake, but it happened after he left office. And Jared Kushner actually has a legitimate business.”

Progressive ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington tweeted shortly after, “Talk all you want about nepotism and conflicts of interest, but you’re not serious people if you don’t want to investigate Jared Kushner.

The House Republican majority has mostly given up on governing and has chosen instead to act as a front line for the former president’s legal defense. Its creation of a subcommittee on the “weaponization” of the federal government, that subcommittee’s focus on Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files” and a House Republican idea of expunging Trump’s two impeachment hearings are the actions of a GOP that’s fully committed to Trump and acting in his service.

The House Republican majority has chosen to act as a front line for the former president’s legal defense.

On Wednesday, The New York Times quoted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., saying that at a Sunday night dinner with Trump, “I did brief him on the strategy that I want to see laid out with impeachment,” and she says she told him that she wanted such an inquiry to be “long and excruciatingly painful for Joe Biden.”

No wonder the other Republican candidates running for president haven’t caught fire; they don’t have an entire chamber of Congress defending or running interference for them. This goes into Republicans’ belief that Democrats and what Republicans term the “Deep State” have not only persecuted Trump but that they’ve also persecuted his children and the rest of his family by unfairly putting them in the crosshairs of investigations. Indeed, the impending impeachment inquiry into the president must be perceived as House Republicans taking revenge for Democrats deigning to impeach Trump.

Not only have Democrats argued that Hunter Biden needs to face the consequences if he committed a crime, but they’ve also pointed out that Trump nominated Weiss and a Republican-controlled Senate confirmed him. It’s a retort to a GOP claim, implied by McCarthy Tuesday, that the younger Biden has been receiving special preferential treatment.

Unlike Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump, Hunter Biden never worked in his father’s administration. That’s another point Democrats are emphasizingPolitico reports.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said, “Hunter Biden may have very well done some improper things. He’s a disturbed man. Almost every president has had problematic family members,” while House Delegate Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, the top Democrat on the weaponization subcommittee, said, “Our job, or my job, will be to remind the American people of that over and over again — that Hunter Biden is not the administration.”

Unlike Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump, Hunter Biden never worked in his father’s administration.

The difference in approach — Democrats not objecting to Hunter Biden’s prosecution and Republicans acting as if every investigation into a Trump is an offense — certainly offers a contrast between the two parties. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., is fond of saying of the House Democratic Caucus, “We’re not a cult, we’re a coalition.” Unlike their counterparts across the aisle, Democrats don’t have to pledge their undying fealty to the president or to his children.

Democrats don’t have to deal with an erratic party leader who dictates party strategy initially by social media posts. The differences in approach also reflect the audiences each party is trying to appeal to: Democrats are trying to connect with people who can be persuaded by facts, especially independent voters, and Republicans are trying to perform for a base that won’t tolerate anything bad, no matter how true, being said about Trump.

Eric Garcia

Eric Garcia is the senior Washington correspondent and bureau chief for The Independent. He is the author of “We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation.”

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