Is This The [New] Greatest Generation?

Below is my column in The Hill on how the pandemic has brought about a generational shift on the front line effort against this virus. After years of being maligned, millennials and Gen Z members are stepping forward in a way that creates their own “greatest” generational story.

This is not an easy Passover and Easter for the people celebrating those holidays in the midst of a pandemic. My family celebrates both given our mixed Jewish Catholic marriage. At both dinners, one chair will be empty. Our eldest son Benjamin is a premedicine student at George Washington University and working at the only psychiatric hospital in the district as a psychiatric counselor. With the coronavirus raging in the area, and many patients coming from the homeless population, Benjamin does not want to risk transmission to the family, so we have not seen him for weeks.

It is a scene being played out across the country. But it also serves as a reminder of a generation shift worthy of note. Those people on the front lines of this pandemic are members of the much maligned generations of millennials and Gen Z. They have been stepping forward by the thousands to answer a call in what may be their finest moment. However, when Bruce Aylward, a senior adviser at the World Health Organization, was asked of his greatest concerns, two groups were highlighted for two very different reasons. First were older individuals who remain the primary vulnerable victims of the coronavirus. Second were “millennials” often blamed for spreading the disease or failing to take the threat more seriously.

It is a widely stated view, often using sweeping references to the multiple generations as millennials. A Fox News medical expert objected to “these millennials and these younger generations” spreading the disease. Even Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force herself called on this group to stop “socializing in large groups” to curb the infection. It is during a crisis that generations can be deified or demonized. World War Two defined what Tom Brokaw called the Greatest Generation in his 1998 book of the same name. He not only explained why that cohort was our Greatest Generation but noted that a “common lament of the World War Two generation is the absence today of personal responsibility.”

As my students often love to point out, “millennial” is a term that is widely misused by my generation. By standard definitions, many millennials are now entering their 30s and 40s. They are not those kids on spring break blissfully ignoring public health warnings while blatantly proclaiming, “If I get corona, I get corona.” The fact is that even the younger generations are being misrepresented by an errant few. Many young people had read the reports that they were not at high risk of lethality, which remains the case right now. Most did not see the risk to their parents or grandparents, a danger that became far more clear as spring break was ending.

Indeed, the Greatest Generation was a title bestowed with hindsight. After all, while it is true they prevailed in World War Two, other members of that cohort started World War Two. Yet if you look at the faces of courageous hospital workers, first responders, and others in the news today, you are looking at the faces of millennials who have not only showed “personal responsibility” but assumed public responsibility for others in this fight against a deadly invisible enemy. Many did so without proper protective equipment, and many have already gotten sick in the process. Once they are done battling the pandemic, they will be left to deal with trillions of dollars in debt, climate change, and rising international instability.

Obviously, on a holiday like Passover that celebrates the sparing of a first born son, there is added meaning at a time when thousands of our own children are working in essential public health and safety sectors during this pandemic. Our pride in the decision of our son Benjamin to continue to work with psychiatric patients is mixed with continued anxiety about his situation. The reality is that the Greatest Generation is being attended to by members of millennials, Gen X, and even Gen Z. These people are glued to hospital monitors, not Game Boys or Nintendo Switches.

So could they be the new Greatest Generation? Rather than playing beer pong on South Padre Island, these young people are showing up to the front lines, some wearing garbage bags rather than personal protective equipment, to hold the line against one of the most contagious diseases in history. I wish Baby Boomers could take credit for raising them so well. However, I have my doubts. These are the kids we protected against every challenge that traditionally makes for a great generation. We gave them all trophies and declared them all to be brilliant. We removed every obstacle as we hovered above them like helicopter parents. It is astonishing they could even leave the house when many of us were done with them.

To make matters worse, we then cleared a path of accommodation for them in the workplace. In both government and business, older workers were trained how to deal with millennials. This is what is called “reverse mentoring” in which older workers are shadowed by a millennial to teach them how to speak and interact with younger workers. One professional friend was corrected by her mentoring millennial because she failed to compliment a younger worker who brought her document copies.

I asked my class about this image of millennials as very sensitive, trophy demanding, and high maintenance. Certainly, these reverse mentoring programs often seem to be essentially anthropological in character, like training explorers to deal with some inscrutable remote tribe. One of my students responded to my question by asking, “What generation do you think gave us all those participating trophies?” My students universally expressed contempt for the clear insistence of Baby Boomers on making everyone a winner and giving awards for simply showing up. They said it destroyed any value of working hard toward victory. They said they threw out those trophies. Now these same millennials are showing up despite the risk to their own lives, ventilating and feeding my generation.

I was born in 1961, the year President Kennedy famously declared during his inaugural address, “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace.” Baby Boomers have always adored that image of their generation. But we now have recognized that, perhaps despite our best efforts, a new generation has come of age, tempered by adversity and being disciplined by a hard and bitter pandemic. There is no trophy for that. Just thousands of Baby Boomers kept alive thanks to them.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

141 thoughts on “Is This The [New] Greatest Generation?”

  1. Kids are kids. The brain always continues to develop it isn’t ‘matured’ until somewhere around 25 years of age. Decision making and planning is not complete until then.

    Many wish to pretend that males and females are the same but on average it appears the female brain develops earlier than that of the male. We have a lot of smart youngsters tending towards middle age but while they have intellect it takes years to develop wisdom if it develops at all.

  2. Obviously, Prof. Turley has no concept of who the so-called “Greatest Generation,” a term created by Tom Brokaw, really was supposed to be. No, members of that generation did not “cause,” World War II, the came of age during and fought it. However, they weren’t so great. Remember that this is the generation that created most of the problems that still exist in this country. They were the ones in power during the Vietnam War and were leaders in all of the idiotic movements of that time. As for today’s “millennials,” I fear they are the ones who are going to destroy the country and the world, (A psychiatrist, really?)

  3. Trump in tweet about an hour ago:


    Such an observant and devout Christian

    1. it sounds strange but it’s a valid notion theologically; the occasion and relevance of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice is the focus of the Christian faith.

      it’s interesting remark however because Trump is a Presbyterian and Presbyterians don’t like crucifixes such as Catholics do. If you ask a Presbyterian why not they may say, they prefer to focus on the Resurrection rather than the crucifixion.

      But the crucifixion really is a core mystery right up there with the Incarnation and the Resurrection. In my thinking these are the central mysteries which distinguish Christianity from other religions. Certainly they distinguish it strongly from Judaism but they also distinguish it from Hellenism, the cultural milieu of the gentile world at the time of the early Church.

      For Catholics there are three sets of five mysteries.

  4. Millennials Might Be A Doomed Generation

    Most Millennials were in their late teen to early 20’s when The Great Recession struck. That explains why so many of them are sympathetic to socialist ideas.

    Millennials saw Republicans wage a scorched-earth fight against Obamacare for reasons that made no sense to them. Obamacare was scarcely ‘socialized medicine’ but Republicans kept labeling it that while offering no practical alternatives. This explains, in part, how Bernie Sanders became so fashionable during Obama’s second term.

    Currently Millennials are entering what should be the prime of their working lives. And now a Great Depression looms! Millennials could be in their 50’s before this country sees a normal economy again. One suspects Millennials will forever note that The Great Recession began under a Republican president. Then The Pandemic Depression began under the next Republican president.

    1. Seth, without going into the politics at all, I can speak to the Millenial mentality. I am in my 30s now and I am the median.

      It’s pretty depressing, to be honest. I graduated from my undergraduate with great hopes of job perspectives. I wanted to go to law school then but made a decision to wait until I had a “real life” experience.

      Well, then the economy tanked, and I was left with 3 part-time jobs. I also had friends being laid off from jobs they just started, and friends who could not get jobs. Some friends were lucky, but it led to feeling jaded.

      I think a lot of Gen Y, do not feel like the economy every recovered 100 % in the last 12 years.

      A lot of us realize that the stuff our parents had will not be feasible for us, or at the very least highly delayed.

      If your baby boomer parent is not kind, then you get to hear about how much you suck at life and what a bunch of losers you are, like all the time, which I feel contributed to my first brother’s deep dive into mental illness. However, lately, my parent has come around, but still chastised his brother for housing his adult child and her husband for 10 years, rent-free. Well, now, they’re in their 30s and finally bought their own house. So, I think my Uncle made the right choice, whatever my own father’s opinion is.

      But bringing it back, a lot of us, Gen Y, won’t get those things, unless we move somewhere cheaper. I heard a lot of Gen Y was moving into Richmond, VA, bc it was more affordable. In a big city, good luck.

      And yes, now, we get to see the next big economic nose dive and pandemic, and we are in our prime of work-life (the 30s). It’s not a pleasant feeling.

      And we have Gen Z on our tails, but really, they’re more jaded than us. So, IDK, what the future holds.

      I said a while ago, Gen X needs to start taking over for the Baby Boomers, and it is time Baby Boomers retire. No one can move up the chain, if ppl at the top do not retire, and work until their 80 yo. It creates a bottlenose for everyone younger waiting their turn in line.

      Of course, it is more complicated than anything I just said…

  5. Great column, Professor. Much gratitude to those who wake, walk into an ER or clinic,or floor not knowing the specifics of what the day will hold but also knowing they are walking into total overwhelm with it having a fair chance of sucking them into it. It’s a noble calling worthy of comparison to the first responders on 9/11, WW I veterans, WW IIveterans, the veterans of the crazed peninsula march that was Korea, the murky jungles of Viet Nam…

    I coached basketball for 15 years and 4 of the kids I coached went into the special forces of either the Air Force, Army or Underwater Warfare. One survived multiple IED blasts, one time even seeing his team killed around him while shrapnel outlined each one of his limbs while somehow not penetrating him. All have significant PTSD. All put everything down for their country.

    My uncle, the guy who I’m named after, died on a submarine in the northern Pacific in WW II. Another uncle was a tank driver in Europe and literally fought hand to hand with Germans when the Nazis were near the end and young German soldiers would sabotage tank treads in the woods….

    Amazing people, all of them, even if WW II PTSD later spurred on the biggest crop of serial killers twenty years later in the States…

    Each generation has its heroic moments, and then also has to deal with the consequences of those moments, it’s an endless cycle.

    All the absolute best to your son, he’s doing some amazing work there, totally stepping up and doing what people get into medicine to do. Be proud, no matter what the generational tropes about what this group might be. You did good in raising your part of this one.

    1. Elvis:
      All those heroes in your family and in your sphere and you still hate the country. What could have happened to you?
      PS. The serial killer comment is whacked.

    2. Amazing people, all of them, even if WW II PTSD later spurred on the biggest crop of serial killers twenty years later in the States…

      Wikipedia has posted a looong list of serial killers. On the list are more than 120 Americans. A half-dozen were born after 1900 but prior to 1928. None are identified as having served in the American military at any time and only one as having any kind of military service.

  6. What a huge load of shite this article is. The ONLY greatest generation were those who fought in WWI. Those of us who have come after that generation can only hope to contribute to the world in such a way.

  7. If referring to the millions across America who have taken social distancing seriously, sure. If you’re talking about the ones who continue to fill the beaches, or continue to fill the subway cars, or continue to fill the bars all while assuming it won’t effect them, not a chance.

    1. “If referring to the millions across America who have taken social distancing seriously, sure. If you’re talking about the ones who continue to fill the beaches, or continue to fill the subway cars, or continue to fill the bars all while assuming it won’t effect them, not a chance.”
      Well the truth is it probably won’t in any permanent way. They stand a better chance of OD’ing than dying from the disease.

  8. I continue to take offense at the term created by Brokaw, “The Greatest Generation.” It was catchy, but not true. The truly greatest generation is the one that fought the British off of our shores and whose leaders signed a remarkable document, the Declaration of Independence, immediately putting their lives under an order of death by the King of England. Less than 30% of that generation actually fought the British, but because of their courage, we are still here. Surely it was a remarkable and wonderful thing to see the entire nation rise up and sacrifice in many personal ways to fight a world war on at least two fronts between 1941 and 1945. Yes, courageous.My dad was one of those. But, as a Baby Boomer myself, I take great affront at people using that term in a derogatory manner, generalizing, in fact, just as Brokaw did, about a whole generation of people. After all, there is a big, long, black wall on the Mall in Washington DC with over 51,000 names of Baby Boomers on it who valiantly fought to prevent the spread of communism in this world during the Vietnam era. In our current “all volunteer” army, there are thousands of young men and women who have gone overseas with only one thought in mind: securing freedom and dignity to peoples in other countries, just as did our troops in WWII. So Brokaw’s title has caught on among those vacuous souls whose historical educations are empty. For each of our generations since the beginning has done marvelous and wonderful things; acts of sacrifice and courage, taking responsibility for themselves and their country.
    So get off the Baby Boomer generalities. Those people who remain today are the Clintonesque hippies, yippies, and yuppies who protested the war in Vietnam and trained their children to be leftists beggars as they, themselves, were (and are.). I would no more generalize about Baby Boomers than I would about any other population of people, whether they be black, green, yellow or red; or believe in different Gods, or have different customs than we typically do here in the “free” U.S.A.,
    Just get off your high horse, there, good sir, and open your eyes. In spite of all of your purported education, you need to get educated.
    By the way, speaking of education, “climate change” as it is used as a buzzword for “global warming” has been determined to be a great and global political hoax. Perhaps one of the biggest of the century.
    Lt.Col. USMC (ret)
    NASA (ret)
    Airline Transport Pilot *(ret)
    BA, MA
    Purple Heart (Vietnam helicopter pilot)

    1. Col. Jerry:

      “Greatest” is an opinion Colonel, and can’t be true or false. All interpretations are valid, some are just better supported than others. Yours makes as much sense to me as Brokaw’s. Personally, I think the generation who grew up in the 1850s and had to make the choice between family, state or nation was equally great. Take a stroll up from the tree line to the Copse of Trees at Gettysburg on a hot July day and see what I mean.

      Oh and thank you for your combat service. My cousin was a gunner in a Huey helicopter. He got shot down twice (once in a river) and lived to tell about it.

      1. Yes, using the word “greatest” is an opinion, and Brokaw, as do the rest of us, has a constitutional right to express it. What I tried, unsuccessfully, to say, was that those who have taken that phrase created by Brokaw and pretty much institutionalized it into something very close to The Truth, need to read some more history. Your example of the years before, during and after the Civil War are a great example.

        1. Grading generations is fun, but not very precise and as mespo says, we can all have our opinions on it. Perhaps forgotten in this discussion is that the WWII generation also lived through the Great Depression. Both of their challenges were felt unequally, and especially the Depression. We might also consider that these events probably weighed differently on Americans by race and that anything after slavery was an improvement – if slight – for blacks. Their progress to full citizenship was a long one.

    2. Generation X: considered insignificant, forgotten as much as Billy Idol’s punk band of the late 70s by same name, squashed down and grinded between the chaos unleashed by the “baby boomers” and the verbal flatulence of “generation z” which now seeks to eclipse the arrogance of boomers with its own. Good luck America

      1. Boomers, the schoolmarm cat ladys teaching music who say the kids don’t need to learn sheet music. Generation Z, the little girls in class who are orderly because they are playing with their cell phones quietly, nursing their own vain notions. Generation X, the older boy who flunked two grades, was quickly diagnosed with ADHD, gets to sit in the hallway because he annoyed the cat lady. He may be up to something or he may be trying to be good but either way it doesnt really matter.

    3. Jerry, Unfortunately the 51,000 who gave all in VN and are immortalized on the wall did not do so with a clear, realistic, or honest goal. That takes nothing from them, but it does from the lying knee jerk reaction by leaders, most of whom were from the “Greatest Generation”. It also highlights that the VN war protesters were right, and some of those were also vets of that war. I respect your service and sacrifice and the country owes you much, but you should consider the difference between those who actively and rightly opposed that war and those who just dodged it without principle. Among the latter are the current president.

      1. I somewhat agree with what book said about the US war to prop up the RVN

        of course he ends with a dig at Trump, But Trump had heel spurs, isnt that right? so, he was no good for marching so no good for conscription.

        Take a look some time at all the things that disqualifies people for conscription. A lot of petty stuff it would seem, unless you consider that the VA may be on the hook for health care treatments for such things for a lifetime. in other words, dont blame Trump for having a small but valid excuse. That’s the system.

        moreover, I don’t blame him for not wanting to go, not trying to pull strings and get a known condition waiver, which is and perhaps was possible. Perhaps for the very reasons you outlined perhaps, so why bother fussing over it. I mean, wanting to save your own skin being sacrificed in a lost cause is probably pretty much an understandable motivation for anybody whether a lawful deferment or a draft dodger. And this is why I don’t fuss over Ted Nugent, who I like, even though he was a flat out draft dodger who faked insanity by pooping in his own pants for a week before his interview. Wild man of Detroit indeed!

        they also called quayle a draft dodger even though he was in the Guard. Well, the Guard is a lot more rigorous now than it used to be, but it was still a lawful service.

        As for generations,. I spit on Tom Brokaw., I went to a speech given by him in person once and I fell asleep.

    4. JJ, thanks for your service. I believe the “greatest generation” is a characterization that is quite faulty because it depends on the metrics one uses. However, having said that I agree with where your symapathies lie. Additionally, I find the greatest to have existed during unpleasant times where they were spat upon or threatened by disease yet served others to protect their fellow citizens and the nation,

    5. “Just get off your high horse, there, good sir, and open your eyes.”

      @Jerry Johnson

      With all due respect, it would appear that you’re on a high horse, as well.


    6 facts about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China

    By Peter Schweizer and Jacob McLeod

    Peter Schweizer, best-selling author of “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends” and Jacob McLeod, a senior researcher with the Government Accountability Institute, explain Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China when his father was vice president.

    The furor over Trump’s call for Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden’s business has brought the spotlight back to the former second family’s international dealings.

    While his Ukrainian business is currently receiving most of the attention, Hunter’s dealings in China deserve at least as much scrutiny.

    Trained as a lawyer at Yale, Hunter had primarily worked as a lobbyist and consultant. His previous foray into financial services, Paradigm Global Advisors, was linked to Stanford Financial, a multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme.

    In 2009, Hunter co-founded a new venture, Rosemont Seneca Partners. Rosemont and Hunter were given extraordinary opportunities in China while his father was vice president. Here are some key facts:

    1. Joe Biden met with Hunter’s Chinese partners days before they established a new investment firm.

    In December 2013, Hunter landed in Beijing aboard Air Force Two, accompanying his father on an official visit to China. Less than two weeks later, Hunter’s company, Rosemont Seneca, became a partner in a new investment company backed by the state-owned Bank of China.

    Christening the new firm Bohai Harvest RST (BHR), the partners set out to raise $1 billion for the new fund.

    Representatives of the Biden family have denied any connection between the vice president’s visit and Hunter’s business. However, a BHR representative told The New Yorker earlier this year that Hunter used the opportunity to introduce his father to Chinese private equity executive Jonathan Li, who became CEO of BHR after the deal’s conclusion.

    2. BHR is a multibillion-dollar enterprise.

    Exceeding their initial fundraising goal, the partners at BHR raised their target to $1.5 billion for the new fund. The company’s website now brags that it manages “over RMB 15 billion” in assets — the equivalent of about $2.1 billion in today’s dollars.

    Under the terms of the deal, BHR, in which Hunter’s firm held an equity stake, would be a lead investor in the fund. Other investors include China Development Bank and China’s social security fund.

    Enlarge ImageJoe Biden waves as he walks off Air Force Two with his son Hunter and granddaughter Finnegan.
    Joe Biden waves as he walks off Air Force Two with his son Hunter and granddaughter Finnegan.Getty Images
    3. Hunter and his partners had prominent roles within the company.

    Despite his relative lack of private equity experience, Hunter landed a prominent role with the new company. Under the terms of the original deal, Rosemont Seneca, Hunter’s firm, shared a 30% stake in BHR with the Thornton Group, which was run by James Bulger, the son of longtime Massachusetts state Senate President Billy Bulger. Hunter and Bulger joined the board, along with Devon Archer, Hunter’s longtime business partner. Archer would also serve as vice chairman of the fund’s investment committee.

    The value of these partnerships to BHR is clear. Its own website boasts: “BHR, with its unique mixed ownership, combines the resources and platforms of China’s largest financial institutions … and the networks and know-how of our U.S.-based investment fund and advisory firm shareholders.”

    Hunter Biden claimed to the New Yorker that he and his partners have not seen any money from the BHR deal. But even if true, the potential payouts are significant.

    4. BHR represented a unique investment opportunity.

    BHR’s relationships weren’t the only unique thing about the company. Rosemont Seneca was getting a piece of something that no other Western firm had: a private equity fund inside the recently established Shanghai Free-Trade Zone, with a focus on international acquisitions. With the backing of the state-owned Bank of China, one of the country’s “big four” financial institutions, BHR had access to the types of deals that most Western firms only dreamed of, including IPOs of state-owned companies.

    5. BHR invested in strategically sensitive assets in both China and the United States.

    In December 2014, BHR became an “anchor investor” in the IPO of China General Nuclear Power Company (CGN), a state-owned nuclear company involved in the development of nuclear reactors. Not only is CGN a strategically important company in China, it was also facing legal scrutiny in the United States. In 2016, CGN was charged with espionage by the Justice Department for stealing US nuclear secrets.

    As a “cross-border” investment fund, Bohai Harvest was interested in making deals outside of China. In 2015, BHR acquired Henniges Automotive, a Michigan-based producer of vibration-dampening equipment, alongside Chinese military contractor Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC). Given the military applications of Henniges’ technology, the deal required federal approval. Like CGN, AVIC was suspected of stealing US technology for its purposes.

    Not long after the Henniges deal closed, AVIC debuted its new J-20 fighter — incorporating designs allegedly stolen from the US’ F-35 program.

    6. It wasn’t an isolated incident.

    In 2015, a state-backed real estate conglomerate acquired a controlling stake in Rosemont Realty, a sister company of Rosemont Seneca where Hunter served as an advisor. As part of the deal, the Chinese promised $3 billion for commercial office property acquisitions in the US — a major windfall for the company.

    It wouldn’t be Hunter’s last episode with Chinese capital. In May 2017, he met with Ye Jianming, chairman of Chinese energy company CEFC, to discuss investment opportunities in the US. After the meeting, Ye sent a 2.8-carat diamond to Hunter along with a “thank you” card. When, six months later, a CEFC executive was arrested in New York on unrelated bribery charges, his first phone call was to Hunter’s uncle, James Biden. James told the New York Times that “he believed it [the call] had been meant for Hunter” and that “he had passed on his nephew’s contact information.”

    Ye, now accused of bribing a Communist Party official, has since been detained in his native China.

    All of this adds up to an extremely troubling pattern. Much of the media, as they so often do, have chosen to air the spin, rather than the facts, on this issue. Did the Chinese give favorable treatment to Hunter Biden to curry favor with his vice-president father? The American public deserves to understand what exactly Hunter Biden was doing overseas and the extent of then-Vice President Biden’s involvement.

    1. Ah, Peter Schweizer. This Peter Schweizer?

      “Schweizer has been criticized for incorrect reporting and conclusions not supported by facts, including in his second book Friendly Spies. Two Sunday Times reporters trying to follow-up on his reporting discovered that meetings described by Schweizer did not check out, that named sources did not exist or could not be found, and that there was no Paris Sheraton Hotel during the time period when the meetings allegedly took place.[38][39][40] Schweizer admitted he overreached in attacking Hillary Clinton’s purported role in approving a Russian uranium deal and falsely claimed that then-Secretary of State Clinton “had veto power” to stop the Russian State Atomic Nuclear Agency (Rosatom) from purchasing Uranium One. During a May 5, 2015, Politico podcast interview, Schweizer admitted that “veto is probably not the best word” and “what I meant by veto power was as we explain the process, you know, if somebody objects it kicks in the special investigation.”[41] In a 2015 NBC interview Schweizer said that Hillary Clinton did not support a nuclear deal with India in 2006 and that she voted for it in 2008, after donations to the Clinton Foundation. PolitiFact rated Schweizer’s claim “False”.[42]

      1. One can understand your need to ignore facts so perhaps these will dissuade you?
        It’s Easter and I do believe in the Easter Bunny. you, not so much


        The troubling reason why Biden is so soft on China

        By Peter Schweizer

        Why is Joe Biden so warm toward China?

        Last week, Biden raised eyebrows when he shrugged off concerns over the China threat. “Come on, man,” Biden said. “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not competition for us.”

        Perhaps Biden’s insouciant attitude toward the Chinese government has to do with the fact that his family does not consider them competitors but business partners.

        In 2013, then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden flew aboard Air Force Two to China. Less than two weeks later, Hunter Biden’s firm inked a $1 billion private equity deal with a subsidiary of the Chinese government’s Bank of China. The deal was later expanded to $1.5 billion. In short, the Chinese government funded a business that it co-owned along with the son of a sitting vice president.

        If it sounds shocking that a vice president would shape US-China policy as his son — who has scant experience in private equity — clinched a coveted billion-dollar deal with an arm of the Chinese government, that’s because it is.

        Until the publication of my book, “Secret Empires,” no one knew the deal took place. Indeed, it took me and a team of seasoned investigators nearly two years to unearth and report the facts.

        Without the aid of subpoena power, here’s what we know. The businesses of Hunter Biden and his partners created a series of LLCs involved in multibillion-dollar private equity deals with companies owned by the Chinese government.

        The centerpiece of these deals is Rosemont Seneca Partners, an investment firm controlled by Hunter Biden and his associates: Chris Heinz, who is John Kerry’s stepson, and Heinz’s longtime associate Devon Archer. The trio founded Rosemont Seneca in 2009 and quickly began making deals through a series of overlapping entities under the Rosemont name.

        Enlarge Image”Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends Hardcover ”
        “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends Hardcover “
        Less than a year after opening Rosemont Seneca’s doors, Hunter Biden and Archer were in China meeting with top Chinese officials. To assist in their new venture, they partnered with a Massachusetts-based consultancy called the Thornton Group, headed by James Bulger, son of former Massachusetts state Sen. Billy Bulger. James Bulger has the dubious honor of being named after his uncle, the notorious mob hitman James “Whitey” Bulger.

        The Thornton Group’s account of the meeting on their Chinese-language Web site is telling: Chinese executives “extended their warm welcome” to the “Thornton Group, with its US partner Rosemont Seneca chairman Hunter Biden (second son of the now Vice President Joe Biden).”

        The purpose of the meetings was to “explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity.” Curiously, details about the meeting did not appear on their English-language Web site.

        The timing of this meeting was also notable. It occurred just hours before Hunter Biden’s father, the vice president, met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington as part of the Nuclear Security Summit.

        Twelve days after Hunter stepped off Air Force Two in Beijing, his company signed a historic deal with the Bank of China, the state-owned financial behemoth often used as a tool of the Chinese government. The Bank of China had created a first-of-its-kind investment fund called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). According to BHR, one of its founding partners was none other than Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC.

        It was an unprecedented arrangement: the government of one of America’s fiercest competitors going into business with the son of one of America’s most powerful decisionmakers.

        Chris Heinz claims neither he nor Rosemont Seneca Partners, the firm he had part ownership of, had any role in the deal with Bohai Harvest. Nonetheless, Biden, Archer and the Rosemont name became increasingly involved with China. Archer became the vice chairman of Bohai Harvest, helping oversee some of the fund’s investments.

        Troublingly, some of those investments had major implications for national security.

        In December 2014, BHR became an “anchor investor” in the IPO of China General Nuclear Power Corp. (CGN), a state-owned energy company involved in the construction of nuclear reactors. In April 2016, the US Justice Department would charge CGN with stealing nuclear secrets from the United States — actions prosecutors said could cause “significant damage to our national security.”

        Enlarge ImageJoe Biden meeting with then Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk during a meeting in Kiev in 2014.
        Joe Biden meeting with then Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk during a meeting in Kiev in 2014.AP
        Of particular interest to CGN were sensitive, American-made components that, according to experts, resembled components used by the US on its nuclear submarines.

        That Hunter Biden had no experience in China, and little in private equity, didn’t dissuade the Chinese government from giving his company a business opportunity in place of established global financial brands like Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs. In fact, the Chinese government wasn’t done funding deals with Hunter Biden.

        Also in December 2014, a Chinese state-backed conglomerate called Gemini Investments Limited was negotiating and sealing deals with Hunter Biden’s Rosemont on several fronts. That month, it made a $34 million investment into a fund managed by Rosemont.

        The following August, Rosemont Realty, another sister company of Rosemont Seneca, announced that Gemini Investments was buying a 75 percent stake in the company. The terms of the deal included a $3 billion commitment from the Chinese, who were eager to purchase new US properties. Shortly after the sale, Rosemont Realty was rechristened Gemini Rosemont.

        Chinese executives lauded the deal.

        “Rosemont, with its comprehensive real-estate platform and superior performance history, was precisely the investment opportunity Gemini Investments was looking for in order to invest in the US real estate market,” declared Li Ming, Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Limited and Gemini Investments chairman. “We look forward to a strong and successful partnership.”

        The plan was to use Chinese money to acquire more properties in the United States. “We see great opportunities to continue acquiring high-quality real estate in the US market,” one company executive said. “The possibilities for this venture are tremendous.”

        Finally, in 2015, BHR joined forces with a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to buy American precision-parts manufacturer Henniges. Because Henniges manufactured technology with possible military applications, the transaction required approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. CFIUS reviews are required for business transactions that have potential national security implications.

        The Biden-Bank of China fact-pattern is arresting in its bravura and scale. Moreover, it turns out that the Biden dealings didn’t just take place in China, but in Ukraine, as well.

        Consider the facts. On April 16, 2014, White House records show that Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s business partner in the Rosemont Seneca deals, made a private visit to the White House for a meeting with Vice President Biden. Five days later, on April 21, Joe Biden landed in Kiev for a series of high-level meetings with Ukrainian officials. The vice president was bringing with him highly welcomed terms of a United States Agency for International Development program to assist the Ukrainian natural-gas industry and promises of more US financial assistance and loans. Soon the United States and the International Monetary Fund would be pumping more than $1 billion into the Ukrainian economy.

        The next day, there was a public announcement that Archer had been asked to join the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural-gas company. Three weeks after that, on May 13, it was announced that Hunter Biden would join, too. Neither Biden nor Archer had any background or experience in the energy sector.

        The younger Biden, for his part, tried to put the best possible face on the deal. He claimed that by joining the board of the natural-gas producer, he would “contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine.”

        The choice of Hunter Biden to handle transparency and corporate governance for Burisma is curious, because Biden had little if any experience in Ukrainian law, or professional legal counsel, period. But that didn’t stop Burisma from paying the younger Biden what The New York Times has reported was as much as $50,000 a month while the company was under investigation by officials in both Ukraine and abroad.

        Joe Biden’s trip to Kiev in March 2016, and his threats to withhold $1 billion in foreign aid if Ukrainian officials didn’t dismiss the country’s top prosecutor, Victor Shokin, take on added meaning when you consider that Shokin’s office had been leading an investigation into Burisma’s owner.

        According to a recent New York Times report, Biden helped recruit an American consulting firm as well as former Deputy Attorney General John Buretta to help Burisma fight corruption charges. In an interview with the Kyiv Post, Buretta described his negotiations with Yuriy Lutsenko. Lutsenko became Ukraine’s general prosecutor after Joe Biden had lobbied for his predecessor’s removal. Apparently, the negotiations worked as the case was dismissed in the fall of 2016.

        Joe Biden later bragged about his efforts to get Shokin removed, though he claims Shokin’s removal was needed due to his mishandling of a number of cases in Ukraine. Hunter Biden insists he never spoke to his father about the investigation into Burisma.

        Will the Senate investigate Joe and Hunter Biden’s actions in China and Ukraine? We don’t know, but they should. If a two-year investigation of President Trump, Russia and the Trump family was justified to ensure the president isn’t compromised, an investigation into Joe Biden, China, Ukraine and the Biden family is imperative.

        Peter Schweizer is the author of “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends” (Harper). His newest project is The Drill Down, an investigative video project dedicated to exposing cronyism and corruption.

        1. Inside the shady private equity firm run by Kerry and Biden’s kids

          By Peter Schweizer

          “My frustration,” writes Peter Schweizer in his new book, “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends,” “is not that the solid reporting on Trump has been too tough, but that the reporting on the Obama administration has been way too soft or in some cases nonexistent.” The author of the 2016 sensation “Clinton Cash” says Trump and his children didn’t invent the blurring of government and business, and details a number of ethical violations on both sides of the political aisle. One example: the little-noticed private equity firm run by the sons of Democrats Joe Biden and John Kerry, as detailed in this exclusive first excerpt.

          Joe Biden and John Kerry have been pillars of the Washington establishment for more than 30 years. Biden is one of the most popular politicians in our nation’s capital.

          His demeanor, sense of humor, and even his friendly gaffes have allowed him to form close relationships with both Democrats and Republicans. His public image is built around his “Lunch Bucket Joe” persona. As he reminds the American people on regular occasions, he has little wealth to show for his career, despite having reached the vice presidency.

          One of his closest political allies in Washington is former senator and former Secretary of State John Kerry. “Lunch Bucket Joe” he ain’t; Kerry is more patrician than earthy. But the two men became close while serving for several decades together in the US Senate. The two “often talked on matters of foreign policy,” says Jules Witcover in his Biden biography.

          So their sons going into business together in June 2009 was not exactly a bolt out of the blue.

          But with whom their sons cut lucrative deals while the elder two were steering the ship of state is more of a surprise.

          What Hunter Biden, the son of America’s vice president, and Christopher Heinz, the stepson of the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (later to be secretary of state), were creating was an international private equity firm. It was anchored by the Heinz family alternative investment fund, Rosemont Capital. The new firm would be populated by political loyalists and positioned to strike profitable deals overseas with foreign governments and officials with whom the US government was negotiating.

          Hunter Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s youngest son, had gone through a series of jobs since graduating from Yale Law School in 1996, including the hedge-fund business.

          By the summer of 2009, the 39-year-old Hunter joined forces with the son of another powerful figure in American politics, Chris Heinz. Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania had tragically died in a 1991 airplane crash when Chris was 18. Chris, his brothers, and his mother inherited a large chunk of the family’s vast ketchup fortune, including a network of investment funds and a Pennsylvania estate, among other properties. In May 1995, his mother, Teresa, married Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. That same year, Chris graduated from Yale, and then went on to get his MBA from Harvard Business School.

          Enlarge Image
          Hunter Biden (left) with father Joe Biden following the inauguration ceremony of President Barack Obama, Jan. 20, 2009.REUTERS
          Joining them in the Rosemont venture was Devon Archer, a longtime Heinz and Kerry friend.

          The three friends established a series of related LLCs. The trunk of the tree was Rosemont Capital, the alternative investment fund of the Heinz Family Office. Rosemont Farm is the name of the Heinz family’s 90-acre estate outside Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania.

          The small fund grew quickly. According to an email revealed as part of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, Rosemont described themselves as “a $2.4 billion private equity firm co-owned by Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz,” with Devon Archer as “Managing Partner.”

          The partners attached several branches to the Rosemont Capital trunk, including Rosemont Seneca Partners, LLC, Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners, and Rosemont Realty.

          Of the various deals in which these Rosemont entities were involved, one of the largest and most troubling concerns was Rosemont Seneca Partners.

          Rather than set up shop in New York City, the financial capital of the world, Rosemont Seneca leased space in Washington, DC. They occupied an all-brick building on Wisconsin Avenue, the main thoroughfare of exclusive Georgetown. Their offices would be less than a mile from John and Teresa Kerry’s 23-room Georgetown mansion, and just two miles from both Joe Biden’s office in the White House and his residence at the Naval Observatory.

          In short, the Chinese government was literally funding a business that it co-owned along with the sons of two of America’s most powerful decision makers.
          Over the next seven years, as both Joe Biden and John Kerry negotiated sensitive and high-stakes deals with foreign governments, Rosemont entities secured a series of exclusive deals often with those same foreign governments.

          Some of the deals they secured may remain hidden. These Rosemont entities are, after all, within a private equity firm and as such are not required to report or disclose their financial dealings publicly.

          Some of their transactions are nevertheless traceable by investigating world capital markets. A troubling pattern emerges from this research, showing how profitable deals were struck with foreign governments on the heels of crucial diplomatic missions carried out by their powerful fathers. Often those foreign entities gained favorable policy actions from the United States government just as the sons were securing favorable financial deals from those same entities.

          Nowhere is that more true than in their commercial dealings with Chinese government-backed enterprises.

          Rosemont Seneca joined forces in doing business in China with another politically connected consultancy called the Thornton Group. The Massachusetts-based firm is headed by James Bulger, the nephew of the notorious mob hitman James “Whitey” Bulger. Whitey was the leader of the Winter Hill Gang, part of the South Boston mafia. Under indictment for 19 murders, he disappeared. He was later arrested, tried, and convicted.

          James Bulger’s father, Whitey’s younger brother, Billy Bulger, serves on the board of directors of the Thornton Group. He was the longtime leader of the Massachusetts state Senate and, with their long overlap by state and by party, a political ally of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.

          Less than a year after opening Rosemont Seneca’s doors, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were in China, having secured access at the highest levels. Thornton Group’s account of the meeting on their Chinese-language website was telling: Chinese executives “extended their warm welcome” to the “Thornton Group, with its US partner Rosemont Seneca chairman Hunter Biden (second son of the now Vice President Joe Biden).”

          The purpose of the meetings was to “explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity.” Curiously, details about the meeting do not appear on their English-language website.

          Also, according to the Thornton Group, the three Americans met with the largest and most powerful government fund leaders in China — even though Rosemont was both new and small.

          The timing of this meeting was also curious. It occurred just hours before Hunter Biden’s father, the vice president, met with Chinese President Hu in Washington as part of the Nuclear Security Summit.

          Enlarge Image
          Chris Heinz (left) with John Kerry at a campaign fundraiser, April 16, 2004.Dennis Van Tine
          There was a second known meeting with many of the same Chinese financial titans in Taiwan in May 2011. For a small firm like Rosemont Seneca with no track record, it was an impressive level of access to China’s largest financial players. And it was just two weeks after Joe Biden had opened up the US-China strategic dialogue with Chinese officials in Washington.

          On one of the first days of December 2013, Hunter Biden was jetting across the Pacific Ocean aboard Air Force Two with his father and daughter Finnegan. The vice president was heading to Asia on an extended official trip. Tensions in the region were on the rise.

          The American delegation was visiting Japan, China, and South Korea. But it was the visit to China that had the most potential to generate conflict and controversy. The Obama administration had instituted the “Asia Pivot” in its international strategy, shifting attention away from Europe and toward Asia, where China was flexing its muscles.

          For Hunter Biden, the trip coincided with a major deal that Rosemont Seneca was striking with the state-owned Bank of China. From his perspective, the timing couldn’t have been better.

          Vice President Biden, Hunter Biden and Finnegan arrived to a red carpet and a delegation of Chinese officials. Greeted by Chinese children carrying flowers, the delegation was then whisked to a meeting with Vice President Li Yuanchao and talks with President Xi Jinping.

          Hunter and Finnegan Biden joined the vice president for tea with US Ambassador Gary Locke at the Liu Xian Guan Teahouse in the Dongcheng District in Beijing. Where Hunter Biden spent the rest of his time on the trip remains largely a mystery. There are actually more reports of his daughter Finnegan’s activities than his.

          What was not reported was the deal that Hunter was securing. Rosemont Seneca Partners had been negotiating an exclusive deal with Chinese officials, which they signed approximately 10 days after Hunter visited China with his father. The most powerful financial institution in China, the government’s Bank of China, was setting up a joint venture with Rosemont Seneca.

          Often those foreign entities gained favorable policy actions from the United States government just as the sons were securing favorable financial deals from those same entities.
          The Bank of China is an enormously powerful financial institution. But the Bank of China is very different from the Bank of America. The Bank of China is government-owned, which means that its role as a bank blurs into its role as a tool of the government. The Bank of China provides capital for “China’s economic statecraft,” as scholar James Reilly puts it. Bank loans and deals often occur within the context of a government goal.

          Rosemont Seneca and the Bank of China created a $1 billion investment fund called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR), a name that reflected who was involved. Bohai (or Bo Hai), the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea, was a reference to the Chinese stake in the company. The “RS” referred to Rosemont Seneca. The “T” was Thornton.

          The fund enjoyed an unusual and special status in China. BHR touted its “unique Sino-US shareholding structure” and “the global resources and network” that allowed it to secure investment “opportunities.” Funds were backed by the Chinese government.

          In short, the Chinese government was literally funding a business that it co-owned along with the sons of two of America’s most powerful decision makers.

          The partnership between American princelings and the Chinese government was just a beginning. The actual investment deals that this partnership made were even more problematic. Many of them would have serious national security implications for the United States.

          In 2015, BHR joined forces with the automotive subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to buy American “dual-use” parts manufacturer Henniges.

          AVIC is a major military contractor in China. It operates “under the direct control of the State Council” and produces a wide array of fighter and bomber aircraft, transports, and drones — primarily designed to compete with the United States.

          The company also has a long history of stealing Western technology and applying it to military systems. The year before BHR joined with AVIC, the Wall Street Journal reported that the aviation company had stolen technologies related to the US F-35 stealth fighter and incorporated them in their own stealth fighter, the J-31. AVIC has also been accused of stealing US drone systems and using them to produce their own.

          In September 2015, when AVIC bought 51 percent of American precision-parts manufacturer Henniges, the other 49 percent was purchased by the Biden-and-Kerry-linked BHR.

          Henniges is recognized as a world leader in anti-vibration technologies in the automotive industry and for its precise, state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities. Anti-vibration technologies are considered “dual-use” because they can have a military application, according to both the State Department and Department of Commerce.

          The technology is also on the restricted Commerce Control List used by the federal government to limit the exports of certain technologies. For that reason, the Henniges deal would require the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews sensitive business transactions that may have a national security implication.

          According to BHR internal documents, the Henniges deal included “arduous and often-times challenging negotiations.” The CFIUS review in 2015 included representatives from numerous government agencies including John Kerry’s State Department.

          The deal was approved in 2015.

          Excerpted with permission from “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends,” by Peter Schweizer, published by Harper Collins. The book goes on sale March 20.

            1. You should copy / paste those Ben Franklin, Hamilton quotes to show him how to do it right. We lost count at the millions of times you have posted them in, hmmm, a month, or is it a week, it is hard to keep track

  10. The average age of an RN is 50, so no, I don’t solely credit the Me Generation in general for what the previous generations are doing to keep the country afloat. The only news I’ve seen recently about Millenial nurses were the ones from a few days ago who staged a sit in because they didn’t have enough help. They wound up getting sent home, and the night shift had to stay on to cover their shift.

    Then there’s the Me! Me! Me! Generation that Millenials foisted on society at large, so no, I don’t have much patience for them, and I certainly don’t think they deserve the title of “Greatest Generation.”

    But older generations are doing it again – giving the Me Generation and their progeny 1st place trophies just for being born. Find the exceptional few who are actually deserving of praise and pass them the laurels. But don’t shower the whole group with platitudes.

  11. No cohort born after about 1938 will compare favorably to those elders.

    The most impressive people among the young joined the military. You find some impressive youths in mundane life, but they stand out for a reason. They compare favorably to their elders in that they were less of a public order problem in their youth. OTOH, so many of them are so flat-souled, so susceptible to rubbish peddled by word-merchants, and so given to treating others as disposable tissue that they’re depressing.

  12. Are you kidding? Sir, don’t confuse the great job you have done raising your millennials with the rest. It hurts to see them right now. I pray they make it past this current crisis. They can’t even tweet properly anymore!

    1. Democrats generally think of businesses as fitting objects for shake-downs or as conduits for social-engineering schemes.

  13. Surely you jest, JT. That is *some* bubble you live in. By and large this situation is making those in question worse than they were before. I am glad there are exceptions to every rule, but this is simply not representational of the larger reality at present. I wish it were.

  14. “Those people on the front lines of this pandemic are members of the much maligned generations of millennials and Gen Z. They have been stepping forward by the thousands to answer a call in what may be their finest moment. ”


    They are owed our thanks. Those young men who stormed Omaha, Gold and Utah et al in the face of a shower of hot lead are owed, to honor a phrase from a previous war, “our last full measure of devotion” as they gave us.

    1. LOL….you are usually the first to comment on his articles. What would you ever do without JT’s blog? Stay at home and bake cookies with Hillary?


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