On Monday, Mayor Pete Buttigieg subtly attacked former Vice President Joe Biden over his son’s employment on the board of notoriously corrupt Ukrainian gas firm Burisma. Biden’s younger son Hunter had a lucrative job at the firm while the vice president was the Obama administration’s point person on Ukraine. Joe Biden later bragged about using a quid pro quo to get a prosecutor fired — while the prosecutor was investigating Burisma. In the phone call at the center of the Democrats’ impeachment push, President Donald Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Biden.
Buttigieg, who is married to a man and has no children, said he would not want his hypothetical son to be in a situation with a seeming conflict of interest.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Mayor Pete pledged that his administration would “do everything we can to prevent even the appearance of a conflict. That’s very important because, as we see, it can create a lot of complications even when there is no wrongdoing.”
When asked how he would have handled such a situation, Buttigieg said, “So, I would not have wanted to see that happen.”
Yet he also defended the former vice president, insisting that there was no wrongdoing and accusing Trump and his defenders of using the Hunter Biden issue as a diversionary tactic.
“And at the same time, again, I think this is being used to divert attention from what’s really at stake in the impeachment process. There’s been no allegation, let alone finding of any kind of wrongdoing,” Mayor Pete insisted. He said Joe Biden should not be a target in the impeachment investigation. “I just think it’s the wrong conversation to be having right now, though, given the spectacular misconduct that we have already seen in facts that are not in dispute, where the only argument to be had is over whether it rises to the level of removal.”
While Biden consistently leads in national polls for the Democratic presidential nomination, Buttigieg has an edge in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Most 2020 hopefuls have endorsed Trump’s impeachment and repeated the former vice president’s insistence that there was no wrongdoing.
Democrats have argued that since there was no wrongdoing regarding Burisma, Trump was essentially asking the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, rather than requesting a reasonable investigation. Despite Democrat denials, however, the situation remains quite suspicious — and even the Obama State Department was concerned about Hunter Biden’s employment at Burisma.
It seems quite reasonable for Trump to ask for an investigation, especially considering that even in Buttigieg’s insistence that there was no wrongdoing, he admitted that the situation appears to be a conflict of interest.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.