The worst oppo researcher in Washington

Trump keeps turning what should be routine opposition research initiatives into obscene corruption scandals

President Trump.
(Image credit: Illustrated | SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images, PytyCzech/iStock, Insh1na/iStock)

If President Trump wants good, honest dirt on his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, let him have it. The occasional positive campaigning pledge aside, this is the stuff of ordinary politicking. It never hurts to remind the public "of what scoundrels your opponents are," advised Quintus Tullius Cicero, the younger brother of that Cicero, in 64 BC, and to "smear these men at every opportunity with the crimes, sexual scandals, and corruption they have brought on themselves." Negative campaigning is a stubbornly persistent part of politics.

But for some baffling reason, Trump can't seem to do it the normal way, as we're seeing anew with this week's scandal apparently involving Hunter Biden and Ukraine. (Read this timeline from my colleague Peter Weber if you need a quick summary of what we know so far.) The president, his family, and his team instead appear to prefer convoluted schemes with foreign governments that, ironically, provide Trump's critics with a stickier charge than anything these bumbling forays into international corruption have uncovered.

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.