Who is David Rubenstein? President Biden's Thanksgiving Host is no Ordinary Billionaire

President Joe Biden is going to be spending Thanksgiving at the house of private equity billionaire David Rubenstein in Nantucket, the White House has revealed. The move did not go very well with some conservatives, as American consumers are likely to face an all-time high bill for Thanksgiving dinner.

Biden and first lady Jill Biden will be staying at Rubenstein's house with extended family, as they have done before, the White House told reporters, according to Nantucket Magazine.

While there has been quite a buzz around the development, people are getting curious about Biden's billionaire friend.

Biden with first lady
Joe and Jill Biden greeting Americans Jill Biden Twitter (screengrab)

Who is David Rubenstein?

David Rubenstein might not be a quintessential rags-to-riches story, but something quite close to one. Born in a modest Jewish household in Baltimore, Maryland, to a father who was a postman, and a mother who was a homemaker, Rubenstein pulled himself by the bootstraps to make a name for himself. Today, he is listed as one of the richest people in the world, with a net worth of over $4.6 billion.

The Turnaround

After managing to get a scholarship, Rubenstein attended Duke University and the University of Chicago Law School, following which he joined the well-known white-shoe law firm Paul Weiss. While working at the firm, he often mentioned his interest in politics to his colleagues. Two years later, he quit the firm and started working as a lawyer at the Senate and in the White House. When questioned about the reason behind his diversion, he often jokingly replied, ''I said to (clients and firm's partners) that I was thinking of going into politics and government, but no one said, 'Don't leave!' so I took it that I probably wasn't a good lawyer.''

David Rubenstein
David Rubenstein David Rubenstein Twitter

After his stint with politics, Rubenstein co-founded the Carlyle group in 1987 – a private equity firm, which started as a leveraged buy-out shop. His first buyout raised $100 million from investors. Over the years, it went on to become one of the largest private equity firms in the world.

The Controversy

The Carlyle Group owns a number of mobile home parks and had come under criticism after being accused of pushing poor people out of their homes by hiking up the rental price. The issue grabbed even more attention after John Oliver, who in his show pointed out that manufactured homes were not easy or cheap to relocate, and spoke about the dilemma of poor residents who faced eviction and homelessness.

Expanding Out

Rubenstein quit the Carlyle Group a few years ago and later, took up writing. He published his first book The American Story: Interviews with Master Historians in October 2019. The book features interviews with historians talking about their areas of historical expertise. He published his second book How to Lead in September 2020, which was essentially on Rubenstein's reflections on leadership and over 30 interviews with leaders from different backgrounds. Now, Rubenstein also hosts a show on Bloomberg TV. He is also one of the initial 40 individuals who have pledged to donate more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charities as part of 'The Giving Pledge'.

Although his mother wanted him to be a dentist, Rubenstein formed and chased his own dreams. He says his first primary source of inspiration was a quote President John F. Kennedy had made during his inauguration, ''Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country". Rubenstein was twelve when he watched the speech live on the television. If we take a glance at his life's work, the David Rubenstein we know today has clearly managed to infuse Kennedy's words into his life, at least, the first half of the second part.