ORLANDO, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — Former President Donald Trump surprised fans Sunday by declining to investigate scandal-prone presidential son Hunter Biden in a hypothetical second term, despite his past interest in investigating President Joe Biden’s family being the catalyst for his first impeachment.
Trump made the comments during an appearance with The First host and former Fox News powerhouse Bill O’Reilly as part of their “History Tour” event series, the Epoch Times reports.
“I don’t want to hurt a family. I’ll be honest,” Trump said. The answer elicited boos from the audience, which took both Trump and O’Reilly by surprise.
Part of that surprise was likely due to Trump’s history on the subject. During a July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump requested that the Ukrainian government help investigate foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as the elder Biden’s role, as former vice president, in the ouster of a prosecutor who had been investigating his son’s business dealings in the country.
News of the call sparked an impeachment push, with Trump’s opponents claiming it was at the very least inappropriate given Trump and Biden’s political rivalry, and a serious abuse of power if Trump made congressionally-authorized foreign aid a condition of compliance. Trump’s defenders argued that it is legitimate for world leaders to request assistance in rooting out a previous administration’s potential corruption.
The House of Representatives ultimately voted 230-197 to impeach the president, but the Senate voted 52-48 against conviction for abuse of power, and 53-47 against conviction for obstruction of Congress.
Trump went on to defiantly make “Where’s Hunter?” a staple of his reelection rallies, a question that increased in relevance with the discovery of an abandoned laptop containing scores of emails and texts detailing how the Biden family made millions of dollars through Hunter’s facilitation of meetings between his father and business interests around the world.
The former president’s about-face on the Biden family echoes another reversal on legal consequences for his previous Democrat opponent. In 2016, he embraced supporters’ chants of “Lock Her Up” in reference to former First Lady Hillary Clinton breaking federal law, but after he defeated her Trump said he didn’t want to “hurt the Clintons.”
That chant “plays great before the election — now we don’t care, right?” Trump told a Michigan crowd in December 2016.
Trump retains a loyal following among the GOP electorate. A recent Politico-Morning Consult poll finds that 69% of Republicans want him to run for president again in 2024, while others argue that, in light of dissatisfaction with his Supreme Court appointees and continued promotion of the COVID-19 vaccines, the conservative movement should move on to new standard-bearers such as Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.