White House press secretary Jen Psaki grew defensive on Tuesday when asked about the art deals of President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
Steven Nelson, the New York Post’s D.C. reporter, noted during a press briefing that his outlet had recently reported that Hunter Biden had sold five prints of his art for $75,000 each and that a team of lawyers was reviewing the prospective buyers who will be allowed into an upcoming New York show.
“That seems to suggest a departure from the White House-brokered agreement where the purchasers would be anonymous,” Nelson said to Psaki. “I was hoping you could say if the White House knows who’s purchased the five prints and whether there is indeed a departure to the arrangement that there would be anonymity here.”
“I know this is your favorite topic,” Psaki shot back. “But, again, it is still the purview of the gallerist. We still do not know and will not know who purchases any paintings and the president remains proud of his son.”
As Nelson began to ask another question, Psaki interrupted to say, “Did you have another question on something else? Otherwise we’re going to move on to some other topics. Lots going on in the world.”
The testy exchange comes as ethics experts have sounded alarms over Hunter Biden’s foray into art after the president’s son announced he would begin selling paintings over the summer, with initial prices as high as $500,000.
The White House has defended the younger Biden’s right to sell his art work and has said he is not involved in conversations about price, Politico notes. The administration said the identities of buyers would be kept secret from Hunter Biden and the public.
However, in late July when CBS News reported that Hunter Biden would meet face to face with prospective buyers, raising questions about the anonymity of the process.
Psaki has previously claimed that conversations between Hunter Biden and potential buyers would not be “related to the selling of art.”
The younger Biden had a “pop-up” presentation of his artwork in Los Angeles on October 1 where he mingled with some 200 guests. At least one individual who is known to be seeking an ambassadorship was in attendance.
Richard Painter, who was the chief ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush, told the New York Post that the event “illustrates how this veil-of-secrecy idea is not happening.”
“It shows the deal’s not going to be secret,” Richard Painter told the New York Post. “I think the White House needs to go to Plan B.”