As we all know, the Trump White House is a leaky place. So who gave Ken Griffin the heads up to make himself scarce from Washington, D.C., yesterday if he wished to avoid an unwanted shout-out from an unwanted source? (We’re looking at you, Kudlow.)
Things got a little awkward when, at one point, the president name-checked Illinois’ wealthiest resident. “Ken Griffin. Citadel. What a guy he is,” the president said, referring to the Chicago-based hedge fund billionaire Griffin, who founded Citadel and now serves as the company’s CEO.
Of course, this being Trump, he hadn’t bothered to check that Griffin had actually shown up—according to Citadel, he hadn’t, and in spite of what Trump’s aides told Thornton, had made clear he wouldn’t. And, this being Trump, he wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to take a few petty shots at someone who not only snubbed him, but who gave money to literally every other Republican running for president four years ago, and who has occasionally expressed unhappiness with the tone emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Like this one, assuming that all people of means are exactly like him.
Trump continued: “Where are you, Ken? Where the hell is he? He’s trying to hide some of his money. Look he doesn’t want to stand up. Where the hell is Ken?” before finally adding, “He’s very quiet about it. He’s in here someplace, he just doesn’t want to stand.”
Giving his Florida neighbor some grief and potentially giving the former Mrs. Griffin some ammunition to reopen their divorce was not the only cringeworthy moment in the East Room, for Trump was in all his triumphal, back-slapping, credit-seeking, insecurity-oozing glory.
“Will you say, ‘Thank you, Mr. President at least?” Trump asked Mary Callahan Erdoes, a senior JPMorgan executive, referring to the bank’s surprisingly strong earnings reported just hours earlier. “Say hello to Jamie.”
At White House ceremony, President Trump calls out for no-show Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin: ‘Where the hell is he?’ [Chicago Tribune]
Trump asks absent hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin to stand at trade signing [Thornton/N.Y. Post]