Former president Barack Obama made a quick stop in Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday afternoon to grab lunch with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the Omaha World-Herald reported. The two were joined by Buffett’s daughter Susie Buffett for lunch in a private room at the Happy Hollow country club, where Warren Buffett is a member.
The lunch lasted about two and a half hours. Susie Buffett spoke with reporters afterwards, but would not comment at what was discussed during the private meeting.
“I’m not going to talk about the meeting. I’m not telling,” she told reporters, according to the World-Herald. “The three of us ate lunch.”
Susie Buffett added that she did not know where the president’s security detail was while the three ate lunch.
When asked about this visit as compared to one by a sitting president, Susie said, “It’s a little different.”
That moment you realize Obama was at the airport the same time as you…. https://t.co/QSgr9mwDHn
— Mattie Smyth (@SmythMattie) March 12, 2017
Obama and Warren Buffett have a long-running public relationship. Reuters has previously reported that “Buffett is one of Obama’s closest defenders in the business community” and that Obama “has sought his counsel dating back to the 2008 presidential campaign and since.”
Obama awarded the billionaire investment tycoon the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. At the time, he described Buffett as “not only one of the world’s richest men but also one of the most admired and respected” and a person who “demonstrated that integrity isn’t just a good trait, it is good for business,” according to a Reuters report.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a civilian can receive from the U.S. government.
Buffett, who Forbes recently named No. 15 on a list of the “World’s Most Powerful People,” is estimated to be worth nearly $80 billion. He has served as CEO of diversified holdings company Berkshire Hathaway since 1970. In 2006 he “unexpectedly announced” that he would give away the bulk of his fortune to charity, with the largest sum — approximately $40 billion — going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to Reuters.
Buffett has been an outspoken supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the landmark bill that Obama pushed, despite some opponents of the legislation mistakenly suggesting that Buffett called for its repeal.
“I support it,” MSNBC quoted Buffett as saying of the ACA in 2013 after rumors that he opposed the bill began circulating on conservative websites. “It relates to providing medical care for all Americans. That’s something I’ve thought should be done for a long, long time.”
Tax reform is another issue on which Barack Obama and Warren Buffett have often seen eye to eye. Buffett has repeatedly called for increased taxes on wealthy people like himself, and Obama included the so-called “Buffett rule” in budget proposals during his presidency.
“First pitched by the White House in 2011, the Buffett Rule (or ‘Fair Share Tax’) would require people making $1 million or more a year to pay at least 30% of their income, after charitable contributions, in federal taxes,” CNN reported in 2015 when Obama tried to push the proposal through with his final budget plan, which was for the year 2016.
Private meeting with Buffett talking “charity.” Why not just call? What is he hiding from the CIA?#ObamaGate
— Based⚖American???????? (@BasedAmerican) March 12, 2017
While Susie Buffett remained quiet about the topics of conversation at the lunch meeting, some sources speculated the Obama visit was an effort to raise funds from the elder Buffett for his presidential library or other charities.
“A well-connected DC source tells WOWT 6 News he suspects Obama was in Omaha asking Buffet [sic] for money for his presidential library,” a local NBC affiliate reported.
Susie Buffett did offer one other piece of information about the lunch meeting between her, Warren Buffett, and Barack Obama. She confessed that she and her father had Thunderbird salads, while Obama had a taco salad. Her father picked up the bill, according to the World-Herald.
[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]