One Ohio Democrat is taking the idea of running away from the unpopular Joe Biden to a whole new level.
In a virtual town hall on Tuesday, Ohio Democrat David Esrati accused the president of corruption and called his son Hunter Biden a “dope fiend.”
“I know I’m a Democrat and everything, but do you want to tell me what Joe Biden’s done since he got elected when he was 27 years old?” said Esrati, the Democratic nominee for Ohio’s 10th Congressional District. “How does he own all those houses? How is he worth what he’s worth? I mean, yeah, a book deal here or there, but no, something isn’t right about going in and serving your country and getting to be a multimillionaire.”
Vulnerable Democratic House and Senate candidates across the country have distanced themselves from the president ahead of the midterm elections, portraying themselves to voters as independent and bipartisan politicians who aren’t afraid to challenge Biden on policy. But of Democratic congressional candidates’ criticism of Biden this cycle, Esrati’s fiery rebuke is unprecedented in its hostility.
Esrati, who made the comments during a livestream in which he responded to chat messages, suggested that Biden became wealthy through inside knowledge he used to be successful in stock trading.
“We need to fix this,” Esrati said, “and at least say, ‘No, you can’t trade. You can’t give advice to anybody on trades. And if you get caught, you’re going to prison.'”
The candidate went after Biden’s son after a viewer suggested the president got rich off “kickbacks from Hunter’s dirty dealings.”
“Hunter’s not smart enough to do dealings to make that kind of money,” Esrati said. “He had the houses before, when Hunter was still just a regular old dope fiend.”
Esrati is a long shot for the southwestern Ohio district, which FiveThirtyEight rates “Solid Republican.”
Ohio’s Democratic Senate candidate, Tim Ryan, has also worked to distance his campaign from the Biden administration while taking a subtler tack. A spokeswoman for Ryan told the Washington Post the campaign has no plans to invite Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris to events.
Among swing-state Democrats who have criticized Biden, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D., N.H.) has been prolific in attacking the president’s policies. The senator has promised to “stand up to the Biden administration” on border security, criticized Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan, and slammed the president for his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.