Economy

Billionaire investor Schwarzman: 'I was accused by people of being a Nazi.'

Billionaire investor Schwarzman: 'I was accused by people of being a Nazi.'”

"It was absurd", Schwarzman explained, adding that he discussed the president's comments about Charlottesville with other CEO's on the panel that he headed.

"No. I wasn't outraged", Schwartzman, the chief of private equity investing giant Blackstone, said at the Delivering Alpha conference hosted by CNBC and the magazine Institiutional Investor on Tuesday in New York City. He added "I was accused of being a Nazi and I'm Jewish".

As head of the Strategic and Policy Forum created to advise Trump on economic issues, Schwarzman, who runs investment firm Blackstone Group, said he polled all members including Mary Barra at General Motors Co. and Virginia Rometty at IBM, giving each one minute to speak and going in alphabetical order. "By the time you got to W it didn't much matter".

Schwarzman said the dustup after Charlottesville - in which Trump provoked anger by suggesting that anti-racist protesters shared blame along with white supremacists for violence that left a counter-protester dead - reminded him of previous culture wars seen during his lifetime.

Despite disagreeing with Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, however, most CEOs on those two advisory boards chose to stay. "The objective of the councils was to give the president advice on issues". So, what changed between then and August?

"I wasn't outraged", Schwarzman stated. "There were shareholders who were unhappy with people's affiliation". "Virtually anyone running a public company who's in that group could not deal with the pressure from their constituents".

"It was pretty clear that the country was going out of control", he said, saying that the CEOs from the two advisory groups gathered together and jointly chose to dissolve. They also informed the White House of their intentions.

"Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both".

He would not directly comment on reports that Trump pre-empted the forum's announcement that it was disbanding by tweeting that he was dissolving the group. I don't control the political world. Less obvious is how exactly the business leaders made the decision to disband.

Schwarzman also would not say how recently he has spoken to the president, though he did say he continues to be in contact.



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