During a VIP dinner in May, former Vice President Joe Biden had some harsh words for hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, but they weren’t wholly undeserved.
During the SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas, a VIP dinner saw billionaire Ackman at a table with Biden. When former Governor Jeb Bush asked Biden why he decided not to run for president, Biden gave a stirring response.
According to three witnesses who attended the dinner, Biden said the 2015 death of his oldest son Beau Biden was one reason he decided against a presidential bid. With emotion, Biden then said, “I’m sorry… I’ve said enough.”
With the rest of the room silent, Ackman quipped, “Why? That’s never stopped you before.”
The remark, made after a touching speech, didn’t go over well with Biden. “Who is this a**hole?” Biden reportedly asked another person at the table. Then, according to the witnesses, Biden addressed Ackman directly, saying, “Look, I don’t know who you are, wiseass, but never disrespect the memory of my dead son!”
Witnesses say Ackman attempted an apology, but Biden wasn’t interested. He reportedly told Ackman, “Just shut the hell up.”
People at the event said that although the evening was supposed to be a lighthearted affair, Biden had already been pressed on policy issues by another attendee.
A spokesperson for Ackman’s hedge fund, Pershing Square, did not dispute the words attributed to Biden or Ackman, but said that Ackman had “great time at the dinner and enjoyed spending time with the former Vice President.”
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