Billionaire Carl Icahn: ‘I’m Behind Trump’

Carl Icahn Trump

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn endorsed Donald Trump in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday, saying the real estate magnate’s business acumen is needed in the White House.

Icahn, known as an activist investor who has been involved in companies like Netflix and Motorola, offered support for Trump’s enthusiastic push to overhaul the country’s immigration and taxation systems. And while he may not agree with the real estate magnate’s specific policies on every issue, he likes the idea of somebody with business experience in the White House.

In a tease of his new video, “Danger Ahead,” set to be released online at midnight Tuesday, Icahn told Bloomberg:

I would say it’s an endorsement. I think at this moment in time, he’s the only candidate that speaks out about the country’s problems. I’m behind Trump. I disagree on certain points I don’t want to get into, I’m sure those can be worked out, but the basic thing is, you need somebody that can get things going in Congress, and I think he can do it. You need somebody that understands business, and I think he understands it.

Trump has become an improbable frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination since announcing his candidacy in June. While many observers still believe one of the other candidates, likely Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush of Florida, will end up the party’s candidate next year, Trump continues to lead most polls and garner attention for his unorthodox style.

Speaking to CNN, he said Icahn’s support was “a great endorsement.”

This summer, Trump pointed to his wealthy friends as likely candidates to head his Treasury Department, mentioning Icahn as one possibility. Yahoo Finance also reported Monday on a policy paper Icahn sent Trump recently on the issue of income inequality, in which the investor seemed to buck Republican conventional wisdom, saying

You will hear many politicians argue that government should not interfere with the “business judgment”, of our companies and, therefore they cannot pass laws to encourage “income equality.” This is completely untrue – the sad fact is that the government has actually passed many laws that have brought about “income inequality.”

Icahn has been vocal about politics in the past. In 2008, he said an Obama presidency would be “devastating” because the then-senator had little knowledge of business or economics.

For his part, Trump has said that while he plans to cut almost all taxes, some of the very rich will pay higher rates under his tax plan. That seems to fit the political brand he has molded for himself, of a generally conservative populist who is primarily concerned with the plight of the middle and working classes. (The reality of his plan might be a little different.)

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“Danger Ahead,” Icahn’s video to be released Tuesday, will reportedly deal with his own fears about where the economy is headed and the pitfalls of persistently low interest rates.

Written by Gene Giannotta


Gene Giannotta is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He reports on economic policy, finance and business news.