In an interview with The Associated Press released Monday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg echoed a criticism of the Democratic presidential frontrunner frequently leveled by the man the Democrats want so badly to dethrone — the very criticism that sparked the Democrats’ impeachment effort.
Without a single Republican vote, the House Democrats impeached President Trump for allegedly attempting to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating his political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, specifically in connection to his son’s lucrative position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while Biden was heading up U.S.-Ukraine relations.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that,” Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during their much-scrutinized July 25 call. “So whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”
Trump was referencing Biden threatening in March 2016 to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to pressure Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor, Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was conducting a corruption investigation into the energy company, Burisma Holdings, which was employing Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
Biden later publicly boasted about his successful pressure campaign, but has since defended his actions, insisting that he wanted Shokin removed because he was failing to weed out corruption, not because of his investigation into his son’s company.
In his new interview with AP, Buttigieg took a shot at Biden over the issue, saying that he would not have allowed his son to take the position in the first place. AP reports:
Pete Buttigieg says he “would not have wanted to see” his son serving on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company while he was leading anti-corruption efforts in the country, an implicit criticism of the controversy that has ensnared his 2020 Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden.
His administration, Buttigieg told AP, will “do everything we can to prevent even the appearance of a conflict.”
“That’s very important because as we see it can create a lot of complications even when there is no wrongdoing,” he explained.
“So, I would not have wanted to see that happen,” the Democratic candidate said when asked how he would have handled the Burisma situation if he were in Biden’s position.
After echoing Trump’s criticism against Biden, Buttigieg attempted to distance himself from Republicans, saying: “And at the same time, again, I think this is being used to divert attention from what’s really at stake in the impeachment process. There’s been no allegation, let alone finding of any kind of wrongdoing.”
“I just think it’s the wrong conversation to be having right now, though, given the spectacular misconduct that we have already seen in facts that are not in dispute, where the only argument to be had is over whether it rises to the level of removal,” the mayor added.
AP reached out to Biden’s campaign but they declined to comment.