Some of the world’s richest people publicly congratulated Joe Biden’s historic presidential victory over the weekend, even though billionaire Donald Trump hasn’t yet admitted defeat.
One billionaire—hedge fund cowboy Bill Ackman, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $2 billion—directly advised Trump to concede in a tweet. “There comes a time in the battle when one should fold the tent. Instead focus on your accomplishments over the last four years,” Ackman wrote Saturday. “Concede graciously and call for unity from all who have supported you.”
Other billionaires congratulated Biden on his win, including Microsoft cofounder and philanthropist Bill Gates. “I look forward to working with the new administration and leaders on both sides in Congress on getting the surging pandemic under control,” Gates tweeted shortly after Biden was projected as the winner by the Associated Press on Saturday.
It’s a notable reaction from the third richest person in the world. As the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Gates, who’s currently worth $118 billion, pledged $300 million from his charitable foundation for vaccine development and other efforts. He’s also criticized the U.S. response to date, telling Fox News in September that “we did a very poor job” and need to “own up to the fact.”
The world’s richest person, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, also chimed in on Instagram. “Unity, empathy, and decency are not characteristics of a bygone era,” the ecommerce executive, who we estimate is worth $190 billion, wrote as the caption to a photo of Biden and Harris high-fiving.
A few of Biden’s billionaire donors also cheered his win. Philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, whose net worth Forbes estimates at nearly $20 billion, donated $100,000 to his campaign. She celebrated Harris’ historic ascendency as the first woman and first Black American and Asian American person to become vice president in a Saturday tweet, describing the achievement as a “glass ceiling shattered once and for all.”
Former venture capitalist-turned-media personality Chris Sacca, who with his wife Crystal Sacca donated $420,000 of their estimated $1.1 billion fortune to Biden, also applauded the election’s outcome. “Joe and Kamala bring science, innovation and an understanding of the climate opportunity back to the White House,” Sacca tweeted Saturday, saying he gave that statement to a news organization owned by conservative media tycoon (and longtime Trump friend) Rupert Murdoch, but the news organization told Sacca they weren’t going to publish it. “I couldn’t be more bullish” about what Biden’s administration means for investors, he added.
“I want to congratulate @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris on a historic win,” Illinois governor and billionaire J.B. Pritzker tweeted, adding that he’s looking forward to working with their administration. Forbes previously reported that Pritzker and his wife donated $1.4 million to Biden’s campaign, and that his net worth is estimated around $3.5 billion.
Entertainment billionaires Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry also weighed in. Winfrey, who we estimate is worth $2.6 billion, hailed Biden’s win as a “reset” for the “soul of America.” Perry, who Forbes estimates to be worth $1 billion, tweeted Saturday that “change is here,” adding, “I’m sitting here in tears!”
Trump wasn’t the only billionaire running in 2020. Climate change activist Tom Steyer and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg also ran against Biden for the Democratic nomination. After dropping out, Steyer and his wife donated $640,000 to Biden from their $1.4 billion fortune, while Bloomberg—who spent $1 billion on his own campaign—gave $15 million of his nearly $55 billion fortune to various progressive organizations. Both men congratulated Biden on his win.
Virgin founder Richard Branson, who is British (and who we estimate is worth $4.6 billion) offered international best wishes to Biden as president-elect. “Now is the time to bring America together as a United States and start the healing,” Branson tweeted. “The world will be rooting for that.”
By Lisette Voytko, Forbes Staff