Phillips’s super PAC recently received a commitment for a $1 million donation from hedge funder Bill Ackman who has engaged in a highly public campaign against DEI initiatives at universities. Ackman recently took part in a conversation on X with Phillips in which the subject was broached.
“DEI now means such divergent things to different people that it is no longer descriptive. Instead of an academic discussion of a phrase our campaign prefers to focus on the urgent need to address and redress racial disparities — the policy substance of which remains completely unchanged on our site,” Katie Dolan, a Phillips campaign spokesperson, said in a statement shared with POLITICO. “We believe the current accordion drop down button ‘Equity and Restorative Justice’ provides an unambiguous description of the campaign’s goal of an America where all people live in economic security and social dignity.”
In recent days, users on X
repeatedly alerted Ackman to the inclusion of DEI language as part of the platform section on Phillips’s campaign site. On Sunday, Ackman replied that he believed Phillips “didn’t understand what DEI was when that was made part of his website. I made the same mistake.”
“He is getting educated as we speak. Let’s listen to what he has to say after he gets educated,” Ackman wrote.
On Tuesday morning, another user on X messaged Ackman about the DEI reference on the Phillips campaign website. Ackman responded that Phillips “didn’t understand DEI until recently” and that he expected “that statement will be revised promptly.”
A cached version of Phillips’ website, as captured by
The Wayback Machineshows that his platform page listed DEI as recently as Monday. By Tuesday, it had been changed to “Equity & Restorative Justice.”