Biden, 77, was pressed on the appearance of his son being on the board of a foreign company while he was still in office and leading U.S. foreign policy in that country.
“No one’s found anything wrong with his dealings in Ukraine except they say it sets a bad image,” Biden said during an interview with NBC’s “Today Show” on Sunday that was broadcast on Monday.
Biden was asked if he thought the position set a bad image.
“Yeah. And my son said that,” Biden said.
Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate, appeared to grow frustrated when interviewer Savannah Guthrie wondered whether Hunter Biden was given the job so people could gain access to the vice president.
“That’s not true. You’re saying things that you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Biden said. “No one said that. Who said that?”
Guthrie responded that what took place could appear “sleazy,” leading Biden to call his son “a very bright guy.”
“He said he regretted having done it. Speaks for himself. He’s a grown man,” Biden said.
Biden’s admission that his son’s position set a bad image was a change in his usual responses to questions about the role. Biden typically defends his son and has said his son did not do anything wrong.
“My son made a judgment. I’m proud of the judgment he made. I’m proud of what he had to say,” Biden said during the October presidential debate.
Biden was asked by a voter while campaigning in Iowa in December 2019 about what happened. The voter claimed that the former vice president let Hunter Biden get a job and work for Burisma despite having no experience. Biden called the man a liar.
Hunter Biden, 49, left Burisma in 2019. Later in the year, he stepped down from the board of a Chinese firm and committed to not serve on the boards of or work for any foreign companies if his father is elected president in 2020.
“Under a Biden administration, Hunter will readily comply with any and all guidelines or standards a President Biden may issue to address purported conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts, including any restrictions related to overseas business interests,” Biden’s attorney, George Mesires, said.
Hunter Biden said in October 2019 that he “did nothing wrong” but exhibited “poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is … a swamp in many ways.”
“I gave a hook to some very unethical people to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father. That’s where I made the mistake,” Biden said. “So I take full responsibility for that. Did I do anything improper? No, not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever.”
President Donald Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in mid-2019 to “look into” corruption allegations against the Bidens, noting that Joe Biden forced the ouster in 2016 of a prosecutor who was probing Burisma. The phone call sparked an impeachment inquiry against Trump, leading to his impeachment in December 2019.
Hunter and Joe Biden were floated as potential witnesses in the inquiry and a Senate impeachment trial but didn’t end up getting called. The Senate voted down proposals to call witnesses last week and will vote on whether to convict Trump, which would require a 67-vote supermajority and is considered unlikely, or acquit him on Wednesday.