Republicans are lying about Biden and hoping voters are ignorant enough to believe them ~ Opinion, NYT

August 26, 2020


TRAILING IN the polls, and with no tangible agenda for a second term, President Trump is doing his best to tear down Democratic nominee Joe Biden. That’s hardly an unprecedented strategy, and some of the policy-based arguments being advanced by speakers at the Republican National Convention this week fall within the normal bounds of campaign debate, even if some of the hyperbole is beyond those bounds. Mr. Biden, it’s said, will be controlled by the Democratic left; he will raise taxes; he will be too soft on China.

There is another strand of the attacks, however, that is as depraved as it is scurrilous. The Trump campaign is attempting to portray Mr. Biden and his family as neck-deep in corruption, based on allegations that have repeatedly been demonstrated to be false. In effect, the Republicans accuse the former vice president of secretly doing what Mr. Trump has accomplished overtly during the past three years — using his office to enrich himself and his family.

Leading the GOP charge on Tuesday was Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general who in 2013 received a $25,000 contribution from a Trump charity six days after her office said it was looking into fraud charges against Trump University. The investigation did not go forward. Incredibly, Ms. Bondi opened her case against Mr. Biden by repeating the lie that led to Mr. Trump’s impeachment: that Mr. Biden demanded the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating a gas company that employed the then-vice president’s son Hunter.

An exhaustive congressional investigation, including sworn testimony by Mr. Trump’s own special envoy to Ukraine, demolished that charge. Mr. Biden sought the prosecutor’s ouster at the urging of the State Department, European governments and Republican senators. Ukrainian authorities said there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son, which is why Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky resisted Mr. Trump’s demand that he launch an investigation of the matter. Yet Ms. Bondi used her prime-time slot to renew the smear, as though none of that had happened.

She also repeated another false charge previously aired by Mr. Trump, that a Chinese-American firm in which Hunter Biden holds a stake received “millions” of dollars (Mr. Trump had said “billions”) after the younger Mr. Biden accompanied his father on a trip to China. Again, this has repeatedly been debunked, including by The Post’s Fact Checker. Hunter Biden was an uncompensated board member of the company; he purchased a stake in it after his father left office; according to his lawyer, he has never received a return.

Ms. Bondi wrapped up her case by alleging that unnamed members of Mr. Biden’s family profited from business deals in Iraq, Costa Rica and Jamaica while he was vice president. She offered no evidence of wrongdoing, only insinuations of “a deliberate pattern of conduct.” “How many families would be allowed to get away with this?” she demanded. The obvious answer: none more so than that of Mr. Trump, whose family company has collected millions from foreign sources during his presidency, and whose daughter Ivanka has been granted potentially lucrative trademarks by the Chinese government on three occasions, including on the day she joined her father at a dinner he hosted for President Xi Jinping.

The Republican case against Mr. Biden assumes both ignorance and gross credulity by voters. Let’s hope this cynical and insulting estimation of the American electorate turns out to be wrong.

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