For nearly five minutes, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) described Hunter Biden’s alleged improprieties on live television Thursday from a hearing room on Capitol Hill.
The former vice president’s son is “dirty,” Gaetz said. He asserted that Hunter Biden was unqualified for his job on the board of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas company, and cited findings of a New Yorker reportas evidence: A glass pipe containing cocaine residue, along with a “white powdery substance” in a plastic baggie, was found in a car Hunter Biden had rented, according to the magazine.
“I don’t want to make light of anybody’s substance abuse issues,” Gaetz said during the Judiciary Committee’s markup of articles of impeachment. “But it’s a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international disputes when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz rental car leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car.”
Biden, who has struggled with addiction, was paid $50,000 a month by Burisma but had no apparent relevant experience for the position. Republicans argue he was hired merely because his father, Joe Biden, was vice president at the time.
Gaetz, one of President Trump’s fiercest defenders, was seeking an amendment to the impeachment articles that would have stricken the name of Joe Biden and replaced it with his son’s and Burisma, but his edit proposal was quickly overshadowed by a Democratic committee member’s pointed response — an exchange that left the room silent and highlighted the increasingly acrimonious impeachment process.
“I would say that the pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (Ga.) in a not-so-subtle jab at Gaetz, who was arrested in 2008 for driving under the influence.
“I don’t know what members, if any, have had problems with substance abuse, been busted in a DUI,” said Johnson, glancing to his left, toward Gaetz. “I don’t know, but if I did, I wouldn’t raise it against anyone on this committee. I don’t think it’s proper.”
Gaetz didn’t respond, and other lawmakers in the room — rarely at a loss for words — were quiet for 15 awkward seconds.
Later that afternoon, Gaetz told CNN’s Manu Raju that he “didn’t pay much attention” to Johnson’s comments.
“I’m focused on the president,” Gaetz said. “I don’t think Americans are hanging on a traffic incident I had a decade ago.”
Gaetz, whose district covers the western Florida Panhandle, was pulled over 11 years ago on the night before Halloween, as he drove home from a nightclub called the Swamp on Okaloosa Island, Fla. Gaetz, then 26, was never convicted, but local media has raised questions about whether he received preferential treatment because his father, Don Gaetz, was a state senator.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) told Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) “the pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do” after he attacked Hunter Biden. (The Washington Post)