House Republicans at the Conservative Political Action Conference declined to defend — or condemn — Oversight Committee chairman James Comer after the Kentucky Republican drew outrage from the White House and veterans groups for expressing disappointment because Beau Biden, the late Delaware attorney general and son of President Joe Biden, never faced criminal charges over a Delaware political scandal in which he was found to have done nothing wrong.
Earlier in the week, Mr Comer attacked the president’s late son, who died from the effects of a brain tumor in 2015, on a podcast hosted by disgraced ex-Fox News host Lou Dobbs.
Mr Comer’s attack cited a campaign finance scandal centered around a powerful Delaware beverage distributor, Christopher Tigani.
Tigani, who was a donor to then-senator Joe Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign, was sentenced in 2012 for illegally funneling contributions to campaigns. The investigation which led to his incarceration was led by David Weiss, a veteran prosecutor who former president Donald Trump appointed as the US Attorney for Delaware in 2018.
Mr Weiss, who is also investigating the president’s surviving son, Hunter Biden, has been allowed to remain on the job by the elder Mr Biden in order to avoid the appearance of any political influence on the ongoing probe.
According to The Washington Post, that probe has developed evidence that could result in an indictment for the younger Mr Biden, but thus far he has not faced any charges.
Mr Comer implied that Mr Weiss’ failure to charge Beau Biden for any crime arising from Tigani’s illegal campaign donations indicates impropriety on the part of the prosecutor.
“This U.S. attorney had had dealing, had an opportunity to go after the Bidens years ago. In fact, it was Beau Biden, the president’s other son, that was involved in some campaign donations from a person that got indicted as well,” he said “But, you know, nothing ever happened. So I don’t know much about this U.S. attorney [Weiss] other than he’s had an opportunity to investigate the Bidens before and he chose not to. We all know that he’s just been silent for a long time.”
In fact, Beau Biden recused himself from any part in investigating Tigani and named a special prosecutor who found that neither Beau Biden nor Joe Biden had committed any crimes, nor had they been aware of the illegal campaign donations.
Mr Comer’s remarks drew a strong rebuke from outgoing White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, who called them “appalling”.
“It’s despicable. And frankly it says quite a lot — none of it good — about Jim Comer,” she said during an appearance on MSNBC on Wednesday.
But Mr Comer’s fellow Republicans weren’t so eager to speak on his behalf when approached by The Independent on Thursday.
Despite the significant media attention on the incendiary comments, none would admit to having heard them or seen coverage of them.
“I haven't seen the remarks so I'm probably not going to comment,” said Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida.
His Sunshine State colleague, freshman Representative Kat Cammack, also told The Independent she had neither seen nor heard the Oversight Committee chair’s comments about the president’s late son.
A third, Representative Ralph Norman of Oklahoma, initially told The Independent he was unaware of any comments about Beau Biden by Mr Comer.
When the matter was explained to him, he still declined to weigh in on his colleague’s remarks.
“You'll have to ask James Comer on what context he made that,” he said. “That's what you need to do — get him and let him explain it”.
Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the White House Counsel’s Office, slammed the GOP representatives’ refusal to call out the Kentucky congressman’s attack on the president’s late son in a statement to The Independent.
“Personal attacks on the president’s deceased son are appalling and deserve to be condemned by any leader with decency,” he said.
Mr Comer is set to speak at CPAC on Friday.
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