In remarks at the nation’s largest conservative conference, Donald Trump Jr railed against Hunter Biden and appeared to call him “a total piece of garbage” and accused him of “selling access to the highest levels of government” and “selling out your country”.
“What do you think the media reaction would be to ‘Don Jr smoking parmesan cheese?’ I promise you it wouldn’t be what we saw from the media” Mr Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference from Dallas, Texas on 9 July, taking a dig at the president’s son.
“Then I say that and they say ‘Oh, you’re making fun of people with addiction’,” he added.
President Joe Biden’s son has admitted his struggle with addiction, detailed in a recently published memoir and in interviews. The president has also repeatedly addressed his son’s drug and alcohol abuse, including during a heated debate between Mr Biden and the former president, who falsely smeared him as a “dishonourably discharged” Naval officer.
“My son, like a lot of people at home, had a drug problem,” Mr Biden responded. “I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.”
At his CPAC appearance, Donald Trump Jr said: “I totally understand addiction. It’s terrible. We all know people that have suffered from it. It doesn’t absolve you from being a total piece of garbage in every other aspect of your life. It doesn’t absolve you from selling access to the highest levels of government. It doesn’t absolve you from selling out your country.”
Mr Trump, right-wing media and GOP officials have alleged that Hunter Biden relied on his father’s vice presidency to support his previous business dealings. The White House has denied that the president discussed any such matters with his son.
Hunter Biden – who has pursued a career in art – has also drawn scrutiny over potentially high-priced art deals, which the White House will reportedly keep confidential, even from the artist himself, to prevent wealthy buyers from gaining favourable access to Hunter or his family by paying large sums for his art.
On his first day as president, the president issued an executive order requiring strict ethics commitments from administration staff and officials, including expansions of Obama-era ethics rules that include banning outgoing senior officials from communication with their former agency, among other policies – including prohibiting family members from working in his administration.
The former president – whose company the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer are facing several criminal charges, including fraud and conspiracy, following a years-long investigation – and several of his administration officials had family working in the White House. Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner worked as chief advisers to Mr Trump.
The former president maintained hundreds of conflicts of interest while in office – including retaining his sprawling real estate empire – while also profiting from the administration’s use of his properties.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington found more than 3,700 conflicts of interest within the Trump White House, which made at least 547 visits to Trump properties during his four years in office.
Mr Trump also reported making more than $1.6bn in outside revenue and income while in office, according to federal financial disclosures with the US Office of Government Ethics.