New photos and video show Hunter Biden rubbing shoulders with celebrities and wealthy patrons at a pop-up exhibition of his work in Los Angeles – as the novice’s new career raises ethical questions that buyers will pay inflated prices for his nascent attempts at professional painting for the influence of curry with his powerful father.
President Biden’s son smiled broadly as he punched his fists with boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, who put his other arm around Hunter Biden’s shoulders in a snapshot posted online by the Daily mail.
Biden’s scandalous scion has been accused of influence peddling in the past, including in a report released last year by Senate Republicans that said his work with Ukrainian energy company Burisma “had had a negative impact on the efforts of dedicated career service people who were fighting to lobby for anti-corruption measures in Ukraine.
The Post later revealed that Hunter Biden introduced his father to a Burisma executive less than a year before elder Biden, then vice president, pressured Ukrainian officials to sack an investigating prosecutor about the company.
Hunter Biden wore a dark blue Western-style denim shirt and black skinny jeans as he mingled with the crowd of around 200 at Friday’s exhibit, according to the photos.
He was joined at the event by his wife, Melissa, and two of his daughters, Naomi Biden, 27, and Maisy Biden, 20, according to the Mail.
It took place at Milk Studios in Hollywood, which usually host photo and video shoots, Mother Jones reported earlier.
Other guests included LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose appointment as President Biden’s ambassador to India is blocked in the US Senate, as well as musician Moby and artist Shepard Fairey, who created the iconic “Hope” poster for President Barack Obama’s 2008 winning campaign.
Another opening is slated for later this month at the Georges Berges Gallery in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood.
Hunter Biden’s paintings – which he created after embarking on a career as a self-taught artist – are on sale for up to $ 500,000 each, with the huge prices raising concerns as to whether that buyers could also influence his father.
“This is all a very bad idea,” Richard Painter, chief ethics counsel for President George W. Bush, told the Washington Post in July.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said a deal with gallery owner Berges would ensure all buyers remain anonymous and neither the White House nor Hunter Biden would know their names.
Psaki also claimed that the first son “was not going to discuss anything related to selling art” at one of his unprecedented solo exhibitions.
Last month, U.S. Representative James Comer (R-Ky.) Sent a letter to Berges asking him to provide the House Oversight Committee with a copy of his deal with the White House and the identity of anyone who buys the art of Hunter Biden or attend his openings.
“This investigation, which includes your gallery’s role in Mr. Biden’s plans, is intended to prevent some fairly obvious opportunities for ethical or national security breaches,” Comer wrote.
Meanwhile, Hunter Biden sparked new controversy this week when the White House declined to say on Monday whether he still had a 10% stake in a Chinese private equity firm controlled by the Bank of China.
“He worked to calm this down,” Psaki said in a tense exchange with a Newsmax reporter.
“Beyond that, I would speak to its representatives.”
In a Tuesday appearance on “Fox & Friends First,” Comer accused the White House of covering up the president’s son.
“The fact that Jen Psaki couldn’t say ‘Yes, Hunter Biden has divested his stake in this Chinese holding’ tells me that he probably still owns it,” Comer said.