Comparing Trump to the Cheshire Cat, Hunter Biden says he lives in version of "Alice in Wonderland"

Biden calls Trump's obsession on his business work as a “distraction” in his first TV interview since impeachment

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 15, 2019 4:42PM (EDT)

US President Donald Trump, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Hunter Biden (Andrew Harnik/Jack Dempsey/Invision for Participant Media/Getty/SERGEI SUPINSKY)
US President Donald Trump, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Hunter Biden (Andrew Harnik/Jack Dempsey/Invision for Participant Media/Getty/SERGEI SUPINSKY)

Hunter Biden labeled President Donald Trump's obsession on his foreign business dealings a “distraction” during his first TV news interview since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry in the wake of revelations that the commander-in-chief solicited Ukraine to dig up dirt on his father.

After telling ABC News’ Amy Robach on Tuesday that he had earned “not one cent” from China, despite Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that he earned $1.5 billion from a trip there in 2013, Biden rebuked the barrage of attacks on his family from the president and his supporters as  “crazy.” (Fact-checkers support Biden’s story.)

“They feel like they have the license to say whatever they want,” Biden said. “It feels to me like living in some kind of 'Alice in Wonderland,' where you're up on the real world and then you fall down the rabbit hole. And, you know, the president is the Cheshire Cat asking you questions about crazy things that don't bear any resemblance to the reality of anything that has to do with me.”

Biden reiterated that “no one ever paid me $1.5 billion, and if they had, I would not be doing this interview right now.”

After Robach asked the former vice president's son if he would have been hired to the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma if not for his famous last name, Biden conceded “probably not.”

“But that’s — you know, I don’t think that there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life if my last name wasn’t Biden,” he said.

Biden also explained that he stepped down from Burisma's board, because his work with the company had become a “distraction” to his father’s presidential campaign. One day earlier, he announced that he would step down from his board role in the management company of a private equity fund connected to the Chinese government, with a spokesperson saying in a statement that the younger Biden “never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the president of the United States.”

Earlier this month, Trump openly requested that China provide him with dirt about Biden’s business dealings, publicly announcing that “China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”

Michael Pillsbury, an informal Trump adviser whom the president has called “the leading authority on China,” later claimed that Chinese officials gave him information about Biden’s business activities when he visited Beijing in the wake of the president's request.

Trump faces an impeachment inquiry after a phone call he made to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky on July 25, in which he asked the Eastern European country to investigate whether then-Vice President Joe Biden had improperly attempted to get a top Ukrainian prosecutor removed from office in order to protect his son from a corruption probe.

Hunter Biden was never accused of wrongdoing in Ukraine and the prosecutor in question, Viktor Shokin, resigned after numerous Western entities exerted pressure on Ukraine because they believed he had not sufficiently fought the corruption in his own country. There are also questions about whether Trump withheld allocated military aid to Ukraine in order to get Zelensky to comply with his requested “favor.”

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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