Trump Says Jamie Dimon Isn’t Smart Enough to Run for President
(Bloomberg) -- One day after JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon boasted that he’s smarter than Donald Trump and could beat him in an election, the U.S. president fired back, saying it’s Dimon who lacks brains.
“The problem with banker Jamie Dimon running for President is that he doesn’t have the aptitude or ‘smarts’ & is a poor public speaker & nervous mess - otherwise he is wonderful,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I’ve made a lot of bankers, and others, look much smarter than they are with my great economic policy!”
The bizarre back-and-forth between the leader of the free world and the head of the nation’s largest bank now looks like it could end, as JPMorgan promptly announced it has no further response. Dimon, its chairman and chief executive officer, had picked the fight Wednesday morning with off-the-cuff remarks at an event that was supposed to spotlight the bank’s philanthropy, boasting he could beat Trump to become president himself -- only to express regret hours later.
“I’m as tough as he is, I’m smarter than he is,” said Dimon, who then got personal: “This wealthy New Yorker actually earned his money. It wasn’t a gift from daddy.”
The CEO quickly backtracked.
“I should not have said it,” Dimon said in a subsequent written statement. “I’m not running for president. Proves I wouldn’t make a good politician. I get frustrated because I want all sides to come together to help solve big problems.”
Trump’s advisers were once said to consider Dimon for a cabinet post. And after the president’s administration began, the executive expressed confidence in it and support for its softer regulation and lower corporate taxes, saying he was rooting for Trump to succeed.
Dimon joined the president’s strategy and policy forum -- a council of U.S. business leaders -- but it disbanded last year in the backlash to Trump’s response to a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville. And this year, Dimon said the administration’s policy of separating children from parents at the U.S. border with Mexico was cruel.
Dimon, who’s described himself in the past as “barely a Democrat,” said Wednesday he doubted he could beat the liberal side of the party if he were to run for president.
Trump has a point about helping bankers. His administration eased financial regulation and helped push through a tax overhaul that was particularly generous to the industry, burnishing its profits this year. The 23 banks deemed most important by the Federal Reserve saved $388 million each on average in the first half of 2018.
At the same time, executives atop some of the nation’s biggest banks have blamed the president’s unpredictability for making corporations reluctant to invest in expansion. They’ve also expressed concern that Trump’s tariffs on imports might set off a global trade war and cripple the economy.
Despite this week’s blowup, Trump has stocked his administration with billionaires, at least a dozen millionaires and alumni from the biggest banks.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.