Billionaire hedge-fund managers who supported President Donald Trump earlier this year are now complaining about his policies on immigration and trade, New York magazine reported.
The frustration was evident last week in downtown Manhattan at the Robin Hood Investment Conference, an annual event where investors pay as much as $7,500 each for two days of talks by financiers. Event proceeds go to the Robin Hood charity.
Barry Sternlicht, the billionaire real-estate investor and hotel developer who described Trump as a friend and golf partner, has soured on the president.
“I expected him to go to the middle, because I thought he wanted to be great,” he said about Trump, according to an audio of the event obtained by the magazine. “I played [golf] with Donald Trump, and his golf game is like his presidency. He’s amusing as my friend, but he’s not very amusing as president of the United States. And I’m a Republican.”
Seth Klarman, CEO of the $30 billion Baupost Group hedge fund, offered a harsher critique.
“The president is a threat to democracy. He has attacked journalists and he’s threatening to take away NBC’s license,” Klarman said. “He’s attacking judges. He’s violating all sorts of democratic norms, from the emoluments clause to questioning the election and threatening to lock up his opponent. People don’t focus on this but Nazi Germany had a constitution before Hitler came to power and at the end of the war they had the exact same constitution. It lasted all the way through, but democracy didn’t.”
According to New York magazine, Klarman continued: “The country is getting divided, whether it’s immigrants, whether it’s transgender people, whether it’s blacks, whether it’s Mexicans. It’s awful.”
Of course, Trump announced his presidential campaign with a pledge to build a border wall along the southern border of the U.S. with Mexico, making his nativist ideas and economic nationalism well known from the beginning.
"When do we beat Mexico at the border?" Trump asked in the June 2015 speech. "They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they’re killing us economically."
Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans are expected to introduce a bill on Wednesday that would cut corporate and individual taxes, CNBC reported. Whether it gets approved by the end of the year remains to be seen.
David Tepper, the CEO of hedge fund Appaloosa Management, voiced skepticism about Trump and the GOP’s chance of cutting taxes.
“Is the tax bill going to get passed? Do you know?” he asked the crowd, which responded with “nervous laughter,” New York magazine reported.
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