Recusal Standards Should Apply to Everyone

Then-Democratic 2020 presidential nominee Joe Biden, his son Hunter and his wife Jill celebrate onstage at his election rally in Wilmington, Del., November 7, 2020. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

If we’re going to create transparently idiotic, partisan standards on the fly, they should be applied to everyone in government. If Clarence Thomas has an ethical obligation to recuse himself from all cases related to the January 6 riots because his wife had opinions on the matter, it’s clear that the president has a moral responsibility to step back from any more decisions concerning Ukraine and China.

Now that the New York Times and Washington Post have both authenticated the Hunter Biden emails — a story that was suppressed by the media and tech conglomerates on the flimsiest of pretexts to help Joe Biden win the 2020 election — it’s what’s right for democracy. That’s how this works, right?

The Biden case is worse because Hunter, under criminal investigation, implicates his father as fiscal beneficiary in his dealings with corrupt Eastern European energy interests and the ChiComs. It’s plausible that Hunter, and Tony Bobulinski, might have been lying about the “Big Guy.” And the president has previously said he knew absolutely nothing about Hunter’s influence peddling.


  • Hunter accompanied his dad on an Air Force Two flight to China in 2013. What did the vice president think his son was doing there? Hunter’s associates also reportedly facilitated Joe’s meeting with Chinese officials and favored billionaires in Beijing when he was vice president.
  • Obama officials openly worried about Hunter’s corrupt relationships. Did they not mention this to the vice president?
  • In 2018, Joe Biden bragged that as vice president he threatened Ukraine’s then-president Poroshenko with the withdrawal of U.S. aid if he didn’t fire state prosecutor Victor Shokin. Did Biden know at the time that Shokin was investigating Burisma, the oil company that was paying his son more than $50,000 a month? Did he ever talk to his son about Shokin?
  • The verified emails contain a correspondence from an executive with the oil company thanking Hunter for brokering a meeting between himself and Joe Biden while he was still vice president. Did he take that meeting? If so, did they talk about Hunter’s work? If not, what did he talk about with the executive?

The biggest question the press should be asking is: Did Joe ever benefit from any of Hunter’s dealings? The answer might still be “no.” There is, after all, no hard evidence to say otherwise (and we’re probably never going to find out). However, on a number of occasions during the past five years, I can recall reading deeply reported profiles regarding the businesses of the previous president’s children. Journalists and pundits, quite understandably, wondered if the president himself had been aware of their dealings. But, really, the Thomas Standard now states that it doesn’t matter if Joe was aware of Hunter’s claims or not. He must recuse for the sake of the country. Otherwise, he should be impeached.