Due to Trump’s distrust of the non-profit that manages the presidential debates, there may not be a formal contest between the incumbent and the Democratic nominee this fall. However, if Donald Trump Jr. has his way, Americans will be treated to a 2020 event as profound as Kennedy-Nixon and punishing as Ward-Gatti: In an interview with Axios on HBO, the president’s son challenged Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic front-runner Joe Biden, to a nepotism contest. “Let’s talk about who profited off of whose public service,” the president’s eldest son said. “Happy to do it. Let’s make it happen.”
Trump Jr. told Axios that attacks on Hunter Biden would be a “big part” of campaign messaging — a line in-sync with larger Republican efforts to bring the family’s alleged (and debunked) misconduct in Ukraine back to the forefront, as Biden surges in the primary. “I’m not going to say I haven’t benefited from my father’s last name, just like Hunter Biden did. That’d be foolish to say that. But I haven’t benefited from my father’s taxpayer-funded office.”
That too would be foolish to say: Trump Jr. is the vice-president of an organization that the president has fattened repeatedly while in office — from bilking the Secret Service to reportedly requiring the U.S. military to spend taxpayer funds at his hotels. DJT also saw his book shoot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list only after the Republican National Committee purchased thousands of copies.
In a pose of off-the-cuff inspiration — or a staging of the sort — Trump Jr. suggested that Axios’ Jim VandeHei “moderate a debate between Hunter Biden and myself … We can talk about all the places where I’m supposedly grifting and Hunter Biden isn’t.” VandeHei dismissed the idea as a “who-made-more-off-dad debate,” which is short-sighted on two fronts. First, Trump Jr. would win the contest on interest alone, despite Biden’s much-aligned $50,000-a-month salary with Burisma and earnings of around $4.2 million from his business dealings in China. Second, the moment would serve as the apex of the big son era defined by nepotism and the excusal of immature male behavior well into adulthood. One can only salivate at the lack of self-awareness presented on this hypothetical stage, as Hunter Biden solemnly weighs the merits of bamboo wok brushes and Donald Trump Jr. incorrectly uses the word “Donbass.”
Alas, it’s about as likely as Trump Jr.’s claim he would release his taxes in preparation for the debate. Hunter Biden has receded from public life as his father’s campaign steams ahead, available only for controlled media encounters in which he discusses “special” birds and yells at helicopters.