On Dec. 12, 2015, the New York Times ran an editorial scorching then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden for serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was leading the Obama administration’s engagement with the Ukraine.
The editorial carried the (perhaps sarcastic) headline: “Joe Biden Lectures the Ukraine.”
Donald Trump was neither the president of the United States nor the Republican presidential candidate at that point.
“Mr. Biden was right to upbraid Russia and to pledge an extra $190 million in aid to Ukraine,” the Times said in its editorial.
“And as a Western leader who has made Ukraine his special project, he was also right to warn Ukrainian legislators to waste no more time in rooting out corruption,” the Times said.
“Though the European Union is likely to renew sanctions against Russia again in January, its patience with Ukraine is being tested by the lack of critical reforms,” said the editorial.
“In his address,” said the Times, “Mr. Biden specifically called for an overhaul of the office of the prosecutor general, changes in the energy sector, transparency about official sources of income and other reforms.”
But then the Times noted that Biden’s credibility “may be undermined” by the fact that his son, Hunter, was serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company,.
“Sadly, the credibility of Mr. Biden’s message may be undermined by the association of his son with a Ukrainian natural-gas company, Burisma Holdings, which is owned by a former government official suspected of corrupt practices,” said the New York Times editorial.
“A spokesman for the son, Hunter Biden, argues that he joined the board of Burisma to strengthen its corporate governance,” said the Times. “That may be so. But Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, has been under investigation in Britain and in Ukraine.
“It should be plain to Hunter Biden that any connection with a Ukrainian oligarch damages his father’s efforts to help Ukraine,” declared the Times. “This is not a board he should be sitting on.”