Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney took aim at President Donald Trump on Friday, calling his request for China and Ukraine to investigate the former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “wrong and appalling.”
While he was speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House Thursday, Trump was asked what he had wanted Ukraine to do after he mentioned Biden during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Well, I would think that, if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer,” the president replied, according to a White House media pool report.
“They should investigate the Bidens, because how does a company that’s newly formed — and all these companies, if you look at,” Trump said, before changing the subject.
“And, by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with — with Ukraine.
“So, I would say that President Zelensky — if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens,” Trump said.
“Because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked. That was a crooked deal — 100 percent. He had no knowledge of energy; didn’t know the first thing about it. All of a sudden, he is getting $50,000 a month, plus a lot of other things.
“Nobody has any doubt. And they got rid of a prosecutor who was a very tough prosecutor. They got rid of him. Now they’re trying to make it the opposite way. But they got rid … So, if I were the president, I would certainly recommend that of Ukraine,” Trump said.
According to Romney, it was wrong for Trump to target Biden because the former vice president is running to oppose Trump in the 2020 election.
“When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China’s investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated,” the Utah senator and frequent Trump critic tweeted Friday.
By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 4, 2019
“By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling,” he added.
When Trump was talking about “what happened in China,” he was likely referring to the fact that in 2014, Hunter Biden’s investment and advisory firm was one of several companies that entered into a deal with Chinese investors worth more than $1 billion.
As Fox News reported, the deal came months after Hunter Biden accompanied his father on a trip to China.
Joe Biden, who was named the Obama administration’s point man for both China and Ukraine, also pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who had investigated an energy company where Hunter served on the board.
Trump, for his part, says he’s made these comments regarding the Bidens because he wants to root out corruption.
“I’m only interested in corruption,” Trump told reporters Friday, according to a White House transcript.
“I don’t care about politics. I don’t care about Biden’s politics. I never thought Biden was going to win, to be honest.”
“This is about corruption, and this is not about politics,” the president added.
“This is about corruption. And if you look and you read our Constitution and many other things, we — I have an obligation to look at corruption. I have an actual obligation and a duty.”