In recent months, Americans have learned more about Joe Biden’s family finances, including his brother James’ and son Hunter Biden’s financial deals with companies in China, Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan. As Fox News reported, Hunter Biden is “under federal investigation for potential violations of tax, money laundering and foreign lobbying laws through his business relationships abroad.”
What would George Washington say about the Biden family’s financial deals with foreign nations? Washington showed that he opposed financial corruption when he was inaugurated as the first U.S. president 233 years ago on April 30, 1789. In his inaugural address, he told the American people that he was declining his salary, a sign that he would not be corrupted, even by Congress.
“I must decline as inapplicable to myself, any share in the personal emoluments, which may be indispensably included in a permanent provision for the Executive Department,” Washington said, noting he had also pledged to “renounce every pecuniary compensation” during the American Revolution.
Only two other presidents have declined or donated their salaries: John F. Kennedy and Donald Trump.
George Washington was well aware that corruption was one of several reasons for the American Revolution. Though the sentiment of no taxation without representation often receives credit for causing the revolution, corruption also played an important role.
For years, the colonists had paid the salaries of their British governors and judges through their legislative bodies. Then King George III came along in the 1760s and paid governors’ and judges’ salaries instead, which made these officials loyal to him and not to the people. Some judges ruled against the colonists because they received a cut of the confiscation of the colonists’ cargo and ships.
“What opportunities then shall we in this province have to demand and obtain the redress of grievances, if our governors and judges and other officers and magistrates are to be supported by the [crown’s] ministry, without the gifts of the people?” John Adams, who would later be Washington’s vice president, had decried in 1772.
By declining his salary at the start of the new federal government in 1789, Washington was declaring that he would not be beholden to any other power through financial benefit, even to Congress. Through this America-first policy, Washington put the American people above every other entity.
The founders were worried that future U.S. government officials would be corrupted, especially by foreign powers.
“Guarded so effectually as the proposed Constitution is, in respect to the prevention of bribery and undue influence in the choice of President: I confess, I differ widely myself from Mr. Jefferson and you, as to the necessity or expediency of rotation in that appointment,” Washington had written the Marquis de Lafayette over the debate of placing presidential term limits in the U.S. Constitution.
Washington knew that a president could be corrupted before his presidency began. He believed that if a president was taking bribes or beholden to other sorts of undue influence, he would be “in the last stage of corrupted morals and political depravity” and could not govern.
In his Farewell Address, Washington warned Americans against political parties. “It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country, are subjected to the policy and will of another.”
Author Peter Schweizer has chronicled this political and financial depravity in his book, Red Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win.
“We spent more than a year investigating ‘Red Handed,’ and one of the most startling things we uncovered is the simple fact that the Biden family, while he was vice president of the United States and continuing when he became president, received some $31 million from Chinese individuals who are linked to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence,” Schweizer told Fox News.
“So there’s no question in my mind that [the Bidens] were targeted by the Chinese and for the life of me, this is unprecedented. I don’t know of a time in American history where the American first family has had this kind of a financial bond with a foreign intelligence service, particularly a foreign intelligence service that wants to defeat the United States in global competition,” Schweizer concluded.
The founders knew that the people would have to hold their leaders accountable for our system to work. John Adams declared that “the preservation of liberty depends upon the intellectual and moral character of the people.”
If Washington were alive today, at minimum, he would say it’s time for Biden to leave office. He believed that if a president was under undue influence, he should not “continue himself one moment in office, much less perpetuate himself in it.” Washington believed that if the people didn’t demand that a corrupt president leave office, they had “become incapable of governing themselves.”
It’s time for Joe to go.