Biden Challenger Phillips Floats Musk and Ackman for Cabinet Roles

(Bloomberg) -- Representative Dean Phillips floated having Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, X owner Elon Musk and angel investor Jason Calacanis in a potential cabinet if his longshot Democratic presidential campaign takes him to the White House.

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Phillips, a Minnesota lawmaker who has mounted a primary challenge against President Joe Biden, promised he would nominate “the best, the most extraordinary bipartisan cabinet in American history” if elected, during a discussion Monday with the three business leaders.

“Maybe we’ll have a third of them on this Spaces right now, by the way, guys,” he added during their conversation, which was streamed on X, formerly Twitter. Phillips, though, did not name any of the leaders directly as potential cabinet picks.

Phillips, 54, aims to capitalize on polls showing many voters unenthusiastic about Biden’s reelection bid, which has been weighed down by concerns about his age and his handling of the economy.

The insurgent bid has attracted some prominent supporters, including Ackman and Mike Novogratz, chief of Galaxy Investment Partners, as many Wall Street leaders express unease with a likely general election rematch between Biden and former President Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner. Monday’s conversation was streamed hours before Republican voters will caucus in Iowa, the first nominating contest of the 2024 race.

Musk and Ackman assailed the Democratic party over Phillips’s struggles to get on the primary ballot in some states.

“I think it’s an embarrassment to our country,” Ackman said.

Ackman over the weekend said he is donating $1 million to support Phillips, who has said has a “credible path to winning the nomination.” Ackman, who has a history of donating to both Democrats and Republicans, has said Biden should step aside for a younger generation.

Read More: Billionaire Ackman Backs Phillips’ Long-Shot Biden Challenge

Ackman said Phillips had taken “a lot of personal risk going up against the Democratic machine.”

Florida Democrats cancelled their primary after only Biden’s name was certified for the ballot. A federal judge last week denied a bid to force the party to hold a primary in March.

Ackman urged the public to follow his lead and contribute to Phillips, saying “It costs a lot of money in litigation and otherwise for him to get on ballots.”

Musk echoed those sentiments, telling Phillips he was surprised about some of the negative tactics that had been employed against him.

Musk has yet to back a candidate in the race, but has interviewed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Ohio entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy on his platform. Musk has said he voted for Biden in 2020 but cannot see himself doing so this year.

But that does not mean he would necessarily vote for Trump, with Musk calling it a “difficult choice.” The Tesla Inc. CEO has courted Republicans since Biden took office and in 2022 encouraged the public to vote for a Republican Congress in the midterms.

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