It appears that self-awareness is currently in short supply.
On Tuesday morning, ABC News broadcast its exclusive interview with Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, in his first on-camera appearance since a whistleblower alleged that President Donald Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate a gas company with ties to the younger Biden.
Hunter admitted to ABC that it was “poor judgment” on his part to take a seat at Burisma Holdings, a Kyiv-based company, while his father was vice president, adding that it was likely that he wouldn’t have gotten that job—or many other things in his life—if his father was not Joe Biden. At the same time, Hunter insisted there was nothing improper or unethical about his employment with the company.
Following the interview, a number of well-known Republican figures weighed in to criticize Hunter Biden for cashing in on his father’s name. And they all had one thing distinctly in common with the ex-veep’s son.
Appearing on MSNBC, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), son of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a libertarian icon who twice ran for the Republican nomination, seemed to suggest the government ought to investigate Hunter Biden and his dynastic connections—but once MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle asked him if that also applied to the president’s family, Paul suddenly sang a different tune.
“If we want to go down the road of the politics of self-destruction of everybody,” he exclaimed. “Criminalize all politicians on both sides of the aisle and go after their family, we can do that. But both sides are doing that, nobody really should excuse themselves and say, ‘We’re holier than thou and Trump is evil,’ instead of saying, ‘It looks like there’s been a lot of self-dealings throughout history.’”
Paul, meanwhile, went on to brush off any further questions about whether it’s appropriate for a president to ask a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a political opponent or whether the Trump family’s self-dealings are an issue, instead insisting that the Bidens need to be investigated.
And then over on ABC’s chatfest The View, Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Sen. John McCain—the 2008 Republican presidential nominee—felt that Hunter didn’t do a “great job,” feeling that part of the problem is he admitted to his nepotistic benefits.
“I think it was some criticism that’s been held against other politicians’ children,” she added. “I always say it’s like being in a mafia family and you all roll together, you know what you’re getting into.”
But it was the decidedly anti-nepotism responses of two other famous legacy cases, however, that really drew attention on Tuesday.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, the niece of 2012 Republican presidential nominee and current Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, took to Twitter shortly after Hunter’s interview aired to post a scorching hot take.
“Hunter Biden got $50K a month from a Ukrainian energy company, despite having ZERO experience in energy,” she wrote. “His justification? That he was also on the board of Amtrak–more obvious nepotism. If that’s not the swamp, I don’t know what is!”
It wasn’t long before “Ms. Romney,” “Ronna Romney,” and “Romney McDaniel” were all trending on Twitter. (McDaniel famously removed Romney from her name after Trump reportedly pressured her to do so over his long-running feud with the former GOP standard-bearer, something she has denied.)
The coup de grâce, meanwhile, was delivered by none other than the president’s own son.
“Dumpster fire at Biden HQ!” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted without a hint of irony. “‘It is impossible for me to be on any of the boards I just mentioned without saying that I’m the son of the vice president of the US. I don’t think that there’s a lot of things that would have happen in my life that if my name wasn’t Biden’ Hunter Biden.”
Reactions, especially from the president’s critics, quickly came pouring in.
“[P]eople are dunking on jr for this but honestly i bet it’s incredibly peaceful and zen-like to have zero self-awareness,” humorist and commentator Andy Levy tweeted.
“The kind of introspective joke you make when you owe your job and your entire career path to your father and think that other people are screw-ups or corrupt for exactly the same reason,” Bloomberg Opinion writer Tim O’Brien noted.
“World record achieved - and likely never to be broken - for self-unaware projection,” The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald observed.