(Bloomberg) -- Anthony Scaramucci pledged allegiance to embattled President Donald Trump and implored the hedge fund industry to continue to support the administration’s economic mission.
“I am ready to serve,” Scaramucci said in his opening remarks Wednesday at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference, known as SALT, in Las Vegas. “And so to the extent the president needs me, I will be available to him.”
Scaramucci, without specifically addressing the turmoil engulfing the administration, told the group of hedge fund managers assembled that it remains important to address income inequality in the U.S., which was a focus of Trump’s election campaign.
“You may not like the president, you might like the president, but we have to fix this problem whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” Scaramucci said. “The rich people in this room, the wealthy people, you don’t want to live in a barbed wire encased security perimeter in your McMansion like they do in Latin America. So we have to fix this problem.”
Scaramucci opened his address to the conference by acknowledging he expected to be part of Trump’s team.
“I didn’t expect to be here to be honest,” said the founder of SkyBridge Capital, a fund of hedge funds, which Scaramucci sold his stake in to join the administration. “I was offered a job by the administration. The job didn’t materialize." He added: “You have to dust yourself off in life and move on.”
Scaramucci said Wednesday that he was offered a job in the White House on Jan. 12. Media reports at the time said he would be named an adviser to Trump and head the White House office of public engagement. But that never happened. Scaramucci in January agreed to sell his approximately 45 percent stake in SkyBridge. The buyer group included a subsidiary of HNA Group, the Chinese conglomerate, as well as a little-known company called RON Transatlantic.
Scaramucci is the impresario of the annual SALT conference, which draws legions from the hedge fund industry to Las Vegas. He was an early supporter of Trump on Wall Street and has made numerous appearances defending Trump’s positions on issues from immigration to trade.
On Trump, Scaramucci said the real estate mogul opened his eyes to the economic issues affecting many in the country.
“It took a billionaire who lives in a tower on Fifth Avenue next to the Tiffany’s jewelry store to show me something that I missed from my own neighborhood,” he said, evoking his roots in Long Island, New York. “I grew up in a blue collar family.” But he said: “I insulated myself by going to Goldman Sachs and then I went into the hedge fund business, and I started to shield myself from the people that I grew up with.”
Perhaps recognizing that his speech was a bit of a confessional, Scaramucci ended it by saying: “You guys are a lot cheaper than my therapist so I figured I would share.”