Whitney Tilson just cannot stop talking about Trump and he has another email out on the subject tonight – willing to bet a brave Donald Trump supporter that Hillary Clinton will be the winner. This actually is a good deal for Tilson since Hillary is favored to win so with Tilson making a one:one bet he can cash in the difference on a bookie site? Some election arb? Anyway, below is the email from Tilson.
In my last email, I wrote:
When I sent out my last email a few days ago, in which I took my criticism of Trump to a new level (calling him a monster, comparing him to David Duke and Joe McCarthy, and warning an acquaintance who’s publicly supporting him that “The risk that your personal reputation is materially and permanently harmed has gone up a lot”), I braced myself for the blowback that always occurs when I send out a very partisan email: angry emails condemning me for using my email blasts for such purposes, requests to be removed from my email list, etc.
The response so far: crickets. I was so surprised that I went back and checked to make sure it had gone out (it had).
Of the 3,000+ people on this email list, I’d guess 1,000+ are Republicans – and not a single one emailed me to say anything along the lines of: “Whitney, I think you’re wrong about Trump. You’re misunderstanding what he’s saying and/or he doesn’t really believe it and/or even if he does, he’ll never be able to implement it and/or as much as I don’t like what he’s saying, I think Hillary is much worse, so I’m holding my nose and supporting him.”
To repeat: not a single reader emailed me to argue against what I wrote. That has never happened before, and I think it speaks volumes…
This time, the response wasn’t crickets – I heard many arguments from my readers who support Trump – so I’m sending out one more email on this topic.
I will keep most anonymous, but my friend Anthony Scaramucci (aka: “Mooch”) of SkyBridge Capital and Wall Street Week said I could share publicly what he wrote, so I’ll start with that.
1) Mooch writes:
This is going to be a close election and the demonization is only just beginning. However for me this is a battle of ideas and not personalities. The left has crippled the country and hobbled its ability to grow. Welfare and poverty maintenance and the destruction of the public education system has created a permanent underclass that Daniel PatrickI respect Buffett as do you but I find a lot of his policy ideas hypocritical. He is a fabulous investor and brilliant on a lot of things. Just not policy or his view of Hillary Clinton.
There is an intersection of proper government function and the power of a thriving free market. We aren’t there now. So I am willing to stick my neck out for disruptive change. That isn’t crickets that in this election season is balls and risk.
He is going to win – and he isn’t racist. The weird thing about it, there are people right now they don’t think they will vote for him but they will.
(By the way, anyone who wants to make a straight-up bet with me on who wins (I obviously take Hillary) – with the proceeds going to the winner’s favorite charity (mine is KIPP charter schools) – let me know. I already have more than $10,000 of action and will take up to $50,000.)
2) Mooch and I are both quoted extensively in this NY Magazine article by Michelle Celarier about the “Wall Street Titans Who Back Trump” (full article here; here’s an excerpt):
Republican Party loyalist Anthony Scaramucci, 52, the co-founder of SkyBridge Capital Management, which invests in hedge funds (including Paulson’s), was a lead organizer of last night’s event. He is in the red this year, down about 4 percent through mid-June. But like Trump, Scaramucci has morphed into a performer, with a weekly cable-TV show on Fox Business — Wall Street Week — and an annual Las Vegas confab for hedge-fund bigwigs and their investors. The high-octane event also features movie stars and politicos, and Scaramucci prides himself on being able to bring diverse groups together. (Whether or not it was Scaramucci’s doing, hard-core Ted Cruz supporter Robert Mercer, billionaire co-CEO of the Long Island–based hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, was moved to attend the event and officially become a Trump donor.)
“We can all agree Trump’s comments are incendiary,” Scaramucci, who has become Trump’s most stalwart defender on Wall Street, told Daily Intelligencer. “But he’s not a demon.” Scaramucci argues that Trump will start to moderate his positions and soon will “look like the negotiator and deal-maker that he really is.” Distressed debt investor Wilbur Ross — a fellow GOP stalwart — offered the same line last week on CNBC, where he came out for Trump.
Yet, just three days after Scaramucci said that, Trump was suggesting on CBS that the U.S. engage in more racial profiling.
A more common view among elite investors, at least according to the informal sense of many well-connected Wall Streeters, is that it’s too late for Trump to change. “He’s shown his true (and abhorrent) colors,” hedge-fund manager Whitney Tilson of Kase Capital wrote in an email he sent out to 3,000 people in the investment community on Friday. “A month or so ago, one could have argued that he was just playing a role during the primaries, pandering to the far right, angry whites, etc. to win the nomination, but then, having secured it, would cleverly pivot back to the center and position himself as a pragmatic, business-oriented guy and stop whipping up hatred toward just about everybody except white men. That argument is now in shreds. It’s now clear that he has no coherent ideas or policies — he is just about fomenting hatred, nothing more.”
Tilson, a Democrat, also warned his Republican friends that supporting Trump would hurt their careers. “The risk that your personal reputation is materially and permanently harmed has gone up a lot because, while you obviously haven’t (yet) reached the conclusion that he’s a monster, that’s the emerging consensus view, so the reputational cost of tying yourself so closely to him has gone up materially.”
He acknowledges, however, that there is a case to be made for being one of the few finance people tied to Trump should he beat the long odds and win. “As one of his few supporters, you’d have great influence and could probably have your pick of a number of cabinet positions.”
3) From a reader:
FWIW, I am a conservative Republican who does not like Trump but will vote for him. I find comparisons of him to fascists like Mussolini to be utterly ridiculous – devoid of deep thought and written by people who have no idea or concept as to what fascism is or entails. I suspect a good portion of other non-respondents felt the same way. He is a chameleon but you don’t get to where he is in (professional) life by being mentally unhinged or insane – “arguments” like that (and describing him as a “racist”) are