Raymond ‘Ray’ Dalio, billionaire and founder of Bridgewater Associates LP, pauses during a session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

Dalio Concerned by Consequences of Trump’s Pursuit of Conflict

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio, who was initially bullish on Donald Trump’s ability to stimulate the economy, is growing increasingly concerned about the potential consequences of his presidency.

“When faced with the choices between what’s good for the whole and what’s good for the part, and between harmony and conflict, he has a strong tendency to choose the part and conflict,” Dalio said in a LinkedIn post Monday. “The more I see Donald Trump moving toward conflict rather than cooperation, the more I worry about him harming his presidency and its effects on most of us.”

Dalio appears to be gaining more clarity on Trump. In March, he said that he had more questions than answers about the president’s brand of populism -- and that the most important thing to watch was how conflict is handled. The founder of the $160 billion Bridgewater Associates said Trump’s decision last week to exit the Paris climate accord, a landmark pact reached by almost 200 countries to curb fossil-fuel production, is the latest example of the president’s approach to conflict.

“Every week is telling in that regard,” he said Monday. “This next week will be no different.”

The billionaire also spoke up last month, after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who previously served as Bridgewater’s general counsel for three years. Comey was a man of "high principles operating in a low-principles environment," he said.

Dalio, who said in December that the Trump era could “ignite animal spirits” and attract productive capital, began souring on the leader after he banned visitors from several mostly Muslim countries and proposed border taxes on Mexican goods.

Trump’s “America First” policy, his executive order on immigration and bent toward U.S. trade protectionism are reminiscent of the policies of populist governments in the 1930s, Dalio and co-chief investment officer Bob Prince told clients earlier this year.