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Normally, when going to stay at a friend’s house, etiquette requires bringing a gift – say, flowers, some wine, or something to eat. But what about the strange circumstances Joe and Dr. Jill Biden face while staying at the Nantucket estate of multi-billionaire hedge fund founder David Rubenstein? It’s a really, really long (since Tuesday night) weekend stay, so one might wonder if Benjamin Franklin’s famous aphorism, that guests, like fish, start to smell after 3 days, comes into play. But nope, not a chance.
You see, while “visiting” their “friend’s” estate, Joe and Dr. Jill are not going to see the Rubensteins at all. They’ve cleared out. Traveling overseas, doncha know. I very much doubt that they had booked a non-refundable airfare when Joe’s staff called up and asked about “visiting” over Thanksgiving weekend. They no doubt have at least one private jet at their disposal. So, they cleared out of their estate to make room for Mr. and Dr. POTUS. How thoughtful!
But isn’t that what Airbnb and VRBO are for?
I don’t know what a lavish multi-room estate on Nantucket would rent for on those sites, but it has to be a substantial sum per night. So, doesn’t this amount to a lavish gift to a sitting president, one worth many thousands of dollars?
The Rubenstein multi-billion-dollar fortune derives from David’s role as co-founder of The Carlyle Group, the second-largest private equity firm in the world, with assets in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Tellingly, Carlyle is headquartered in Washington, DC, not Wall Street, and Rubenstein himself was a White House official in the Carter administration before becoming a hedge fund guy. It sure looks like knowledge of and connections with the federal government play a role in guiding the superior insight necessary to capably invest such serious sums of money.
I am not accusing anyone of acting improperly. I have no knowledge of such. But the appearance of impropriety is strong in my eyes.
Yet, I have not been able to discover any media coverage of the inherently questionable practice of accepting a lavish gift like this from a financial markets insider while serving as President of the United States. Most people, who read the headlines and may skim the first paragraph, have the assumption that the Bidens and Rubensteins are sitting before a crackling fire talking about the grandkids.
The visit is weird and the media silence is even weirder.