Donald Trump at an event in Florida, Oct. 3, 2019 Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty)
Despite being the subject of a House impeachment inquiry over reports he sought the help of a foreign power for personal gain (aiding his re-election hopes), Donald Trump on Thursday publicly asked a different foreign power—China—to do the exact same thing.
Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Trump said China should launch an investigation into the business dealings of Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden, Trump’s potential Democratic opponent for the presidency, the New York Times reports:
“China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he left the White House to travel to Florida. His request came just moments after he discussed upcoming trade talks with China and said that “if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.”
Trump’s mention of Ukraine referenced a similar ask regarding Joe and Hunter Biden that he made of that country during a July phone call—a request that led to the House kicking off its impeachment inquiry. Critics say Trump improperly tried to used the power of his office—including the lure of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid—to try to pressure Ukraine, a foreign country, to aid him personally.
That call would likely not have come to light if it were not for a whistleblower tagging it to lawmaker.
But now, Trump has openly suggested that China conduct the same kind of investigation on his behalf.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, “no evidence of any impropriety” exists on the part of either Joe or Hunter Biden. In addition, Trump told reporters that he had yet to personally ask China’s president for help. However, Trump remarked, “It’s certainly something we can start thinking about.”
Trump also Thursday repeated his request that Ukraine investigate the Bidens, according to the Journal:
Mr. Trump again called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to lead the charge for a probe. “I would say, President Zelensky, if it was me, I would start an investigation into the Bidens,” Mr. Trump said.
So, there we have it, folks; another open example of Trump’s flouting of all conventional norms, customs and, perhaps, the law when it comes to what is expected of the so-called leader of the free world.
As the Times notes:
Throughout his presidency, Mr. Trump has made no effort to hide actions or statements that critics called outrageous violations of norms and standards — but because he does them in public, they seem to stir less blowback than if they had been done behind closed doors.
And with his latest “request” of China, the number of foreign powers that Trump has apparently solicited for aid regarding his desire to win re-election now tallies five, according to Times:
The president’s call for Chinese intervention means that Mr. Trump and his attorney general have solicited assistance in discrediting the president’s political opponents from Ukraine, Australia, Italy and, according to one report, Britain.
In speaking so publicly on Thursday, a defiant Mr. Trump pushed back against critics who have called such requests an abuse of power, essentially arguing that there was nothing wrong with seeking foreign help.
Or, in other words, maybe Donald Trump just doesn’t GAF care anymore.
The bigger question may be how much the American public does.