(Bloomberg) -- Stanley Druckenmiller is standing up for Jeff Bezos.
The billionaire investor criticized the Trump administration’s treatment of Amazon.com Inc. and its founder, saying the White House should be lauding rather than vilifying the online retailer.
Bezos “is literally revolutionizing the way business is done," Druckenmiller said Wednesday night at the Manhattan Institute’s Alexander Hamilton award dinner, where he was honored. He warned that President Donald Trump’s personal crusade against the company risked undermining one of the key strengths of the U.S. economy. “The best tech companies in the world are in the U.S. because of a mix of education, immigration, finance and meritocracy."
He also pilloried the wider state of capitalism, taking aim at the cost of entitlements and arguing that the expansion of monetary policies by central bankers worldwide is creating future economic problems.
“If I were trying to create a deflationary bust, I would do exactly what the world’s central bankers have been doing for about six years," he said. “The government should get out of the business of manipulating long-term interest rates."
Druckenmiller, 64, who shut his hedge fund in 2010 and converted it into a family office, clearly has pulling power. The event raised a record $3.2 million for the institute, said Paul Singer, founder of activist hedge fund Elliott Management and chairman of the right-leaning think tank.
The dinner -- named after the country’s first treasury secretary (and latter day musical sensation) -- celebrates public figures identified as personifying principals like individual liberty and free markets. About 700 guests mingled amid the marble columns and chandeliers at Cipriani 42nd Street.
“Druckenmiller’s been very outspoken on the national problem of our public spending," said Lawrence Mone, the institute’s president. “He’s been particularly vocal about how it’s impacting our younger generations.”
Druckenmiller -- who once worked for George Soros and has a $5.6 billion fortune according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index -- wasn’t the only billionaire in the room. Home Depot Inc. co-founder Ken Langone, his mentor, introduced him and noted he’d never lost money in 40 years of investing with him. Singer offered opening remarks to the guests before they dined on herb-crusted rack of lamb or Chilean sea bass.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was also honored. She was introduced by Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., who contrasted her to “the moral midgets" that he said make up much of the international organization.
Haley, 46, drew a standing ovation as she railed against the UN’s bureaucracy and said no deal was preferable to a bad deal with North Korea.
“A great lady," said John Catsimatidis, owner of New York supermarket chain Gristedes, sitting at a table in the center of the room. “Nikki Haley has a long way to go upwards."
Past honorees have included billionaire Rupert Murdoch, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, conservative doyen William F. Buckley and former Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
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