According to our BFF Charlie Gasparino, the best thing to happen at what everyone seems to agree was rather lackluster SALT 2017, is something that happened behind closed doors and is maybe the greatest story we have ever heard...ever.
Take it away Gaspo:
Some say former Vice President Joe Biden is too old to run for president in 2020, but he still knows how to throw a verbal punch -- just ask financier Bill Ackman.
The controversial hedge fund manager, known for his losing bets on stocks like Herbalife and Valeant, got into a verbal tussle with Biden at a private dinner during recent investment conference. The incident, which hasn’t’ been reported, stunned an A-list group of attendees who witnessed Biden’s verbally scolding Ackman, according to three people who were present.
Oh, you guys, it's even better than you think...
The altercation occurred at this year’s SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference, a popular Wall Street confab held in May and started by hedge fund impresario Anthony Scaramucci. Both Biden and Ackman were featured speakers during the event.
In order to save time and set the scene, The Mooch apparently invited a select group of attendees to eat dinner together the day that Biden had told the conference he thought he would have been a better candidate than Hillary Clinton. In that Vegas dining room (according to Gaspo's reporting) was a fucking menagerie of celebrities and finance celebrities. In addition to Biden and The Ack-Man, the group included Jeb Bush, Jon Corzine, Vaeri Jarrett, George Papandreou and the Steves Harvey and Cohen.
Sure, this could have been the least-filmable orgy of all time, but it was even better than that:
During a private VIP dinner that night the question of why Biden didn’t run for president in 2016 was raised once again, by former Florida governor and 2016 GOP presidential contender Jeb Bush, who asked Biden “why didn’t you run?”
Biden explained that part of the decision stemmed from the death of his son Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015. The room grew quiet as Biden became emotional, and said: “I’m sorry…I’ve said enough.”
Wow. A genuine emotional moment created by a famously emotional man still coming to terms with the possible connection between a terrible personal tragedy and what he saw as a national crisis. In an intimate room, that kind of thing provokes the natural response of humanistic, quiet respect.
Unless you're Bill Ackman of course...
That’s when Ackman blurted out “Why? That’s never stopped you before.”
The formal, and understated dinner conversation suddenly turned tense, according three people who were present and confirmed both the substance and the wording of Biden’s responses.
Biden, these people say, turned to someone seated near him, and asked, “who is this asshole?,” a reference to Ackman.
We want to time-travel and revel in the obscene discomfort of this moment. We want to watch Jeb Bush's eyes grow large at the spectacle of someone embarrassing himself on a Jeb Bush-level of embarrassment. We want to feel Corzine realize that he's not the least popular person in the room, and we want to hear Steve Cohen whisper "Oh, no he didn't, player" to his best friend in the world, Steve Harvey.
And we want to experience how much worse it apparently got:
Then he turned directly to Ackman and stated: “look, I don't know who you are, wiseass, but never disrespect the memory of my dead son!” these people say.
Ackman attempted what was described as an apology, to which Biden said, "just shut the hell up."
This story is the kind of thing that makes us wonder if we're all just living inside of an ongoing Carl Icahn fantasy.