The campaign website for Democrat Dean Phillips, the Minnesota congressman challenging Joe Biden for the Democrat nomination in 2024, underwent a bit of a facelift last week after he was endorsed by billionaire investor Bill Ackman, the New York Times reported.
Ackman is a staunch opponent of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and has, in recent months, targeted DEI programs in higher education.
In a lengthy statement on Twitter on January 13, Ackman not only endorsed the long-shot candidate in the Democrat primary but also announced that, in addition to giving the maximum $3,300 to the Phillips campaign, he would be wiring a $1 million donation to the super PAC “We Deserve Better,” that was formed late last year to support Phillips over Joe Biden in 2024.
In his long endorsement, Ackman described Phillips as someone Republicans would “respect” and noted that he was “committed to a bipartisan cabinet.” He argued that the Minnesota Democrat had “sensible” ideas to address many of the “most recalcitrant problems” facing the country.
Ackman’s endorsement prompted some users to point out that Phillips’ campaign website included a section on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which Ackman opposes.
Ackman said in a follow-up post last Tuesday that Rep. Phillips “didn’t understand DEI until recently” and he expected that his statement on DEI would “be revised promptly.”
Ackman was correct. By last Tuesday evening, the campaign website had been revised. The section on “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” had been changed to “Equity and Restorative Justice.”
In a subsequent interview last Wednesday, Ackman added some context to the website change, explaining that he had sent Rep. Phillips several articles over the previous weekend, including a January 14 column in the New York Times by conservative David French on the dangers of DEI.
Ackman said he wanted to help Phillips understand the difference between the “DEI movement” and the principles of diversity and inclusion that both Ackman and Phillips support.