President Biden considered John Kasich as Republican running mate for 2020


EXCLUSIVE: Joe Biden considered REPUBLICAN Ohio governor John Kasich as his running mate in 2020 after son Hunter and top donor and Walmart chairman Greg Penner devised plan for a bipartisan ticket to ‘repair’ divided nation

  • Text messages, emails, and audio recordings from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop show his father Joe considered running on a bipartisan presidential ticket 
  • DailyMail.com can reveal Hunter had back-channel talks with Walmart chairman Greg Penner in 2018 and 2019 to set Joe up with Republican John Kasich
  • Penner, 52, who is married to Walmart heiress Carrie Walton, has donated over $640,000 to political campaigns including Democratic PACs, since 1999
  • Penner emailed Hunter in June 2018 saying: ‘I’d like to visit with you about some options I’ve been working on for the 2020 election’ 
  • In a call on October 25, Penner named Kasich as a possible mate and revealed the former Ohio governor wanted to meet Joe to discuss the potential joint ticket
  • ‘We know it’s of interest to John to at least have a conversation. If your dad was at all intrigued by it, we could figure out a way to facilitate,’ he said 
  • Hunter told Penner: ‘I think there’s a nonpartisan or even a partisan but moderate coalition that forms that allows him to win it all’
  • Later texts to Hunter suggests Penner called and met with Joe: ‘After he announces, give me a call so we can figure out how I can support him. I’d also like to meet him’

President Joe Biden considered a Republican running mate for 2020 in secret conversations with a top donor, DailyMail.com can reveal. 

Walmart board chairman Greg Penner, who has donated over $640,000 to political campaigns since 1999, had back-channel talks with Hunter Biden in 2018 and 2019 to set up Joe with Republican former Ohio governor John Kasich for a bipartisan presidential ticket.

The plot, revealed in text messages, emails, and a phone call recording on Hunter’s abandoned laptop, gives an insight into political strategies the president considered in an attempt to win the White House.

But it also reveals his son’s deep involvement in Joe’s political decisions, the unfettered access to the would-be president that top Democrat donors received, and Hunter’s mixing of personal business interests with Joe’s presidential campaign – as he also pitched Penner’s company on several money-making schemes.

The Walmart chairman, 52, is a powerful figure, married to company heiress Carrie Walton and manager of her family’s sizable wealth fund.

Since 1999 he has donated $641,235 to political campaigns, including political action committees for Biden and Democrat lawmakers, Federal Election Commission data shows.

Files found on Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop show he had teamed up with a top political donor in 2018 and 2019 to help set up his father Joe with a Republican running mate for 2020

Files found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop show he had teamed up with a top political donor in 2018 and 2019 to help set up his father Joe with a Republican running mate for 2020

Former Ohio Governor John Kasich

Hunter had back-channel talks with Walmart chairman Greg Penner (pictured) - a top political donor - to get Republican former Ohio Governor John Kasich on a bipartisan presidential ticket with Joe

Emails and audio recordings obtained by DailyMail.com reveal Hunter had back-channel talks with Walmart chairman Greg Penner (right) – a top political donor – to get Republican former Ohio Governor John Kasich (left) on a bipartisan presidential ticket with Joe 

Hunter and Penner’s connection goes way back. The two graduated from the same class at Georgetown in 1992. 

In 2013 and 2014, Hunter used his relationship with Penner to try to hook Walmart as a lucrative client for two businesses he had invested in, Counsyl and E-Plata, in deals that they hoped would make at least $50million.

The two men had also discussed their shared business interests in China in emails as far back as 2010.

But in August 2017 Hunter wrote to Penner with a cryptic request.

‘I’d like to discuss something with you that’s best not to be done by text or email– nothing bad I promise,’ he emailed the Walmart chairman.

Discussions continued apace. 

In June 2018, Penner emailed Hunter: ‘I’d like to visit with you about some options I’ve been working on for the 2020 election.’

Then on October 25 that year, an audio recording of a phone call between the two men saved on Hunter’s abandoned laptop revealed the details of their nascent plan.

On the call, Hunter told Penner that ‘it’s gonna be very difficult for him [Joe] not to run’ for president – six months before his father officially declared his candidacy.

Hunter first appeared to broach the subject in an August 2017 email to Penner asking to discus something that is 'best not to be done by text or email'

Hunter first appeared to broach the subject in an August 2017 email to Penner asking to discus something that is ‘best not to be done by text or email’  

Later texts from March 2019 suggest Penner both called and met with Joe Biden. Hunter told the Walmart exec, 'he would gladly meet whenever your schedule and his allows'

Later texts from March 2019 suggest Penner both called and met with Joe Biden. Hunter told the Walmart exec, ‘he would gladly meet whenever your schedule and his allows’ 

In a phone call discussing their plan, Hunter was careful to distance his father from any negotiations, telling Penner: 'this is all me, not him'

In a phone call discussing their plan, Hunter was careful to distance his father from any negotiations, telling Penner: ‘this is all me, not him’

‘I think that whether it’s the party, or whether it’s people like you Greg, the overall objective here is to stop not only Donald Trump, but to stem the tide of what Donald Trump represents in the political process for the future of this country,’ he said.

Kasich was known as an outspoken Republican critic of Donald Trump, and flirted with a primary challenge against him for the 2020 election.

Ultimately Kasich endorsed Biden for president. 

Penner told Hunter he had been doing extensive research for a political campaign that could involve the former Ohio governor.

‘We now know what we need to do in every state and what it would cost and how we do it. So it’s really about pulling the trigger, if we decide we want to do it,’ the Walmart chairman said.

He revealed that Kasich wanted to meet Joe to discuss their potential joint ticket.

‘We know it’s of interest to John to at least have a conversation. If your dad was at all intrigued by it, we could figure out a way to facilitate,’ he said. 

‘I could fly John out and it could just be an off-the-record face-to-face.’

Hunter was careful to distance his father from any negotiations, saying ‘this is all me, not him’ and said he was concerned about ’emboldening’ more ‘fringe candidates’ in the presidential primaries.

Penner wrote in emails that he had been doing extensive research for a political campaign that could involve Kasich, and revealed Kasich wanted to meet Joe to discuss their potential joint ticket

Penner wrote in emails that he had been doing extensive research for a political campaign that could involve Kasich, and revealed Kasich wanted to meet Joe to discuss their potential joint ticket

Kasich (far right) was known as an outspoken Republican critic of Donald Trump, and flirted with a primary challenge against him for the 2020 election

Kasich (far right) was known as an outspoken Republican critic of Donald Trump, and flirted with a primary challenge against him for the 2020 election

‘I think for him, right now, to have that discussion is premature, particularly when he hasn’t even announced,’ Hunter told his friend.

‘But I think that, obviously, if you’re able to do this in the traditional way, I think there’s a nonpartisan or even a partisan but moderate coalition that forms that allows him to win it all. 

‘However, who the hell knows with any of this stuff.

‘No matter what, I rather him win that way. I think for the country, I think that it would be an opportunity to actually start to heal these divisions.

‘Because the space between what you believe and what I believe Greg, is so thin. 

‘And we’ve allowed everybody else to tell us and tell the people that coalesce behind our camps that it’s really wide and it’s not, man. It truly isn’t.

‘You know, the vilification of George Bush when he was president was just as disconcerting to me as the vilification of Barack Obama. 

‘And I don’t think that that ever necessarily changes, but if John and Joe were ever able to kind of repair that [divided national politics], that’s a big, big leap forward—potentially.

‘Let’s you and I have one more discussion after I talk to him.’

The call recording has been uncovered previously, but new texts between Penner and Hunter from a backup of Hunter’s iPhone stored on the laptop now verify that it was the Walmart chairman on the line.

Later texts suggest Penner both called and met with Joe Biden.

‘After he announces, give me a call so we can figure out how I can support him. I’d also like to meet him,’ he wrote to Hunter on March 13, 2019.

‘He is available tomorrow after 4PM EST if you are,’ Hunter replied four days later. 

‘He looks forward to speaking and would gladly meet whenever your schedule and his allows.’

Over the same period, Penner financially backed Kasich, Biden and other Democrats.

In January 2016 he gave $2,700 to the Kasich for America political action committee (PAC). In March 2018 he gave a further $5,000.

 

Emails show Hunter mixed politics with business in his relationship with Penner and thanked the Walmart exec helping set up a pitch for Hunter's firm with the company in 2014

Emails show Hunter mixed politics with business in his relationship with Penner and thanked the Walmart exec helping set up a pitch for Hunter’s firm with the company in 2014

In June 2019 he gave Biden for President PAC $2,800, $11,200 to Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper between March and December that year, and Brooklyn congressman Hakeem Jeffries’ PAC $5,600 in June 2020.

The communications uncovered from the laptop show Penner, a top donor, was able to get access to Joe through his son.

Hunter mixed politics with business in his relationship with Penner.

In 2014, he wrote to his former classmate thanking him for helping set up a pitch for Hunter’s firm with Walmart.

‘Just wanted to thank you again for arranging a call for ou[r] portfolio company, Counsyl, with the appropriate people at Walmart,’ he wrote. 

‘I appreciate all your help.’

Hunter’s business partner wrote in one email that a deal with Madrone Capital, the Walton family wealth office Penner managed, could be worth $50million.

‘I am setting up a meeting with Jamie at Madrone who is one of Penner’s partners. 

‘Will keep you posted and it may be helpful to have you reach out to Penner when the time is right. 

‘Madrone could be a $50mm anchor,’ Hunter’s Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners colleague John DeLoche wrote to him in February 2013.

In another email from 2013, Hunter's business partner John DeLoche wrote in one email that a deal with Madrone Capital, the Walton family wealth office Penner managed, could be worth $50million

In another email from 2013, Hunter’s business partner John DeLoche wrote in one email that a deal with Madrone Capital, the Walton family wealth office Penner managed, could be worth $50million

Hunter boasted of his relationship with Penner to Jeff Cooper, his business partner in another company E-Plata and a longtime friend and political donor of Joe’s.

‘The largest private sector employer in Mexico is Walmart- 209K employees. Our perfect target audience with the added benefit of Walmart adopting E-Plata at the POS. And Greg Penner (next Chairman of the Board) is a friend,’ Hunter wrote to Cooper in February 2015.

He wrote to Penner in November 2016: ‘I just wanted to give you a heads up that a portfolio company of mine called ePlata (www.eplata.com) has a call scheduled with Mario De Armas on your team… I just wanted to give you a heads up in case someone mentions my involvement.’

‘Got it, thanks for the heads up Hunter. Interesting times there in DC!’ Penner replied.

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