President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was seen in Malibu Sunday afternoon with family and friends ahead of meeting with potential buyers of his controversial art.
The president’s son was photographed leaving lunch, as he carried his one-year-old son Beau on his shoulders while wife Melissa Biden trailed close behind.
Biden has been enjoying the California sun of late, where he was spotted last month hitting the waves with professional surfer Strider Wasilewski
Biden recently moved into a Malibu apartment that features its very own art studio. The apartment was first listed in April with rent priced at $20,000. Its three-car garage was converted into an art studio, where Biden said he starts his day at 5 a.m.
But Biden’s career as an artist has generated controversy, especially as he gets set to meet with potential buyers at two upcoming art shows. Biden’s art is hosted by Georges Berges Gallery, which is set to hold two small gatherings in Los Angeles and New York that will feature his work.
The president’s son is expected to attend and meet with prospective buyers, a decision that some believe raises ethics concerns.
“Hunter Biden should cancel this art sale because he knows the prices are based on his dad’s job,” said Walter Shaub, who headed the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) under former President Barack Obama as well as a short stint under former President Donald Trump. “Shame on POTUS if he doesn’t ask Hunter to stop. If that fails, he should ask that the names of buyers be released & pledge to notify us if any buyer ever meets with admin officials.”
Biden’s works are expected to sell at anywhere from $75,000-$500,000, a price tag some experts contend is suspiciously high given his relative inexperience as an artist. Others question if some might be willing to pay the high price as a way to gain favor from the White House.
Biden himself has not disputed that his last name may give him a leg up over other aspiring artists, saying having those advantages is something grown used to throughout his life.
“It’s been the unfair advantage of my whole life,” Biden said last month. “It’s a hell of a lot easier to get noticed, not only by the cop who pulls you over for speeding but also by the school or whatever the endeavor may be.”
The White House has looked to head off ethics concerns surrounding the art, brokering a deal with the gallery that would shield both the president and his son from any knowledge of who purchased the works.
“Well, I think it would be challenging for an anonymous person who we don’t know and Hunter Biden doesn’t know to have influence,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last month. “So that’s a protection.”
But Shaub believes that the arrangement is still concerning.
“Is Hunter Biden going to walk around the art show with a blindfold on?” said Shaub. “It just goes to show you the focus isn’t on government ethics. It’s just showing the child of a president can cash in on the presidency.”