After Hunter Biden’s wild press conference in lieu of appearing to testify before the House committees investigating the Biden family’s foreign business dealings ahead of yesterday’s vote on an impeachment inquiry, it appears that the communications strategy is lacking consensus. And on CNN NewsNight with Abby Philip, an opportunity to shape that post-presser consensus narrative.
Watch that consensus narrative get laid out in real time, as aired on CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip on Thursday, December 14th, 2024: (click “expand” for transcript):
ABBY PHILLIP: Keeping quiet has apparently not worked. So Hunter Biden is trying out a new strategy, taking to it the Republicans that he accuses of trying to persecute him. For evidence, just look at what the president’s son did, holding a press conference just steps away from the United States Capitol.
HUNTER BIDEN: No matter how many times it is debunked, they continue to insist that my father’s support of Ukraine against Russia is a result of a nonexistent bribe. They displayed naked photos of me during an oversight hearing. And they have taken the light of my dad’s love, the light of my dad’s love for me and presented it as darkness. They have no shame.
PHILLIP: Stef Knight(SIC) is here with me now, she is an Axios reporter. So Stef, what is going through the minds of White House aides right now when they see something like this press conference happening on Capitol Hill?
STEF KIGHT: You know, over the past several months, we’ve seen Hunter’s legal team take a more aggressive approach when it comes to pushing back against, you know, the criminal cases against Hunter as well as Republicans’ investigations. And that more aggressive approach really went to a whole new level yesterday with this presser by Hunter himself. And that has caused some tension within the White House. The White House has wanted Hunter to kind of stick with the quieter strategy to let things play out and try not to draw additional attention to some of these investigations. But of course, as we’ve seen, Hunter’s team seems to think that that’s not working, and that Hunter needs to be more forward in defending himself and his father. And, you know, after that presser, Hunter told Axios that his two priorities right now are staying sober and staying clean, and also defending his father. And he feels a need to be speaking out more than he has in the past.
PHILLIP: So maybe the White House doesn’t like it, but is there a sense here that other Democrats who maybe want the Biden administration to be more aggressive appreciate what Hunter is doing here?
KIGHT: You know, there is certainly a divide within the White House. There are some officials who felt that Hunter made a very strong statement yesterday. There are some who are going to back this new strategy, who think that Hunter remaining quiet actually will hurt president Biden as we go into the 2024 election cycle, and that it’s important that Hunter does not appear guilty, even as Republicans have struggled to, you know, draw a line between some of Hunter’s actions and his father president Joe Biden. So there are certainly going to be some cheering him on to continue taking this approach, but it’s certainly caused some- caused some division within the White House at the very least.
PHILLIP: Interesting reporting, there. Stef Kight, thank you very much.
KIGHT: Thanks for having me.
Of course, the purest victim in all of this is not Hunter Biden, but the presidential reelection prospects of his father, hence the expression of concern over Hunter’s silent strategy. But then, a reassurance. “It is important that Hunter does not appear guilty” seems like it came from Hunter himself…as does, quite frankly, the whole segment.
There is, of course, no time to examine or discuss any of the public evidence against the Bidens, such as the FD-1023 discussing payments to Burisma or the damning IRS whistleblower testimony. There is only concern for the relationship between Hunter Biden, his appearance of innocence in the face of damning evidence, the electoral prospects of Joe Biden, and the shaping of public perception in a light most favorable to all.
This is little more than crisis comms strategy disguised as “news analysis”.