Ken Griffin got an unwelcome spotlight this week — from the president of the United States.
The notoriously press-shy Wall Street tycoon — most famous, maybe, for buying a $220 million apartment on Central Park last year — had been invited to the White House for Wednesday’s signing of the phase-one trade deal with China.
About 25 minutes into the hour-plus ceremony, however, the boss of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel was nowhere to be seen as President Trump began to thank a list of American business bigs who advised him on the talks.
“Ken Griffin, Citadel. What a guy he is. Where are you, Ken?” Trump said from podium, scanning the crowd as he launched into a monologue that must have been excruciating for Griffin — if he happened to be watching it on TV.
“Where the hell is he? He’s trying to hide some of his money,” Trump continued. “Look, he doesn’t want to stand up. Where the hell is Ken? See, Steve, you’ll stand, and he’s very quiet about it. He’s in here someplace; he just doesn’t want to stand.”
Asked about the awkward moment, a West Wing staffer told The Post that Griffin “did RSVP,” saying he would attend.
Griffin’s camp disputes that.
“Ken was invited, but confirmed he was unable to attend,” a Citadel spokeswoman said. She added that Griffin was not even in Washington DC on Wednesday, but declined to elaborate on his whereabouts.
Griffin’s absence may have created the most awkward moment of the day, but other industry titans, both absent and present, also got targeted.
“Will you say, ‘Thank you, Mr. President at least?” Trump asked a female JPMorgan executive, referring to the bank’s surprisingly strong earnings reported just hours earlier. “Say hello to Jamie.”
A source close to the bank said CEO Jamie Dimon was also invited to the ceremony but “he was traveling.”
Even Boeing’s new CEO David Calhoun, faced with guiding the aviation giant out of its 737 Max morass, got the treatment from Trump.
“Stand up, David. See, he didn’t want to stand. Let me tell you: It’s not your fault. You just got there,” Trump said. “You’ll straighten it out quickly, please.”
Griffin — the richest person in Illinois with an estimated net worth of $13.1 billion, according to Forbes — is a self-professed “Reagan Republican” who backed Mitt Romney’s campaigns. In 2016, he donated to Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush.
While Griffin has backed Trump’s hard line on China, he also has been critical of Trump’s public lambasting of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Twitter for not cutting rates more aggressively.
At a conference in November 2018, Griffin called Trump’s negative tweets berating Powell “completely inappropriate for the president of the United States.”