As predicted right on cue… from Whitney Tilson‘s email to investors…
Counting down till Tilson sends out his next email https://t.co/6N10dwinsx
— ValueWalk (@valuewalk) December 13, 2016
Elizabeth Warren Attacks Whitney Tilson https://t.co/y9OQAI73Tr
— ValueWalk (@valuewalk) December 13, 2016
1) In his column in yesterday’s NYT (below), Andrew Ross Sorkin criticizes Sen. Elizabeth Warren for her attack on me in a Facebook post on Dec. 1st:
The hedge fund manager she condemned was Whitney Tilson, who runs Kase Capital. Ms. Warren — the fiery Massachusetts Democrat who is known for her stern mistrust of Wall Street — called him out by saying, “Tilson knows that, despite all the stunts and rhetoric, Donald Trump isn’t going to change the economic system.” Then she added, “The next four years are going to be a bonanza for the Whitney Tilsons of the world.”
There’s one rather glaring problem with Ms. Warren’s attack: Mr. Tilson happens to be one of the few financial executives who publicly fought Mr. Trump’s election and supported Hillary Clinton. A lifelong Democrat who was involved in helping to start Teach for America, Mr. Tilson also happened to be one of the rare Wall Street executives who had donated to Ms. Warren and actively sought new regulations for the industry. Recently, he gave Mrs. Clinton $1,000 so he could see Ms. Warren speak at a campaign fund-raiser. (He’s also far, far from a billionaire.)
“I’ve donated money to her, attended her events, and did everything in my power to stop Donald Trump,” Mr. Tilson told me, talking about Ms. Warren and expressing dismay that he somehow became the target of her derision. “In addition, I agree with her 100 percent that large swaths of the financial industry have run amok and prey on vulnerable Americans, and thus strong regulation, including a muscular Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is sorely needed,” he said.
Ms. Warren appears to be suffering from the same affliction that Mr. Trump’s critics accuse of him: a knee-jerk, fact-free reaction to something she had read in the news.
…When I spoke to Mr. Tilson on Monday, he said he felt that the senator had let him down in two ways: “Personally, I feel betrayed,” he said. “In recent years, I’ve really stuck my neck out by very publicly supporting her, the C.F.P.B., and a tough regulatory approach to banks — none of which wins me many friends — and this is how she repays me.”
Mr. Tilson added: “By engaging in factually incorrect, ad hominem attacks, she’s getting down into the gutter with Trump. This is misguided and counterproductive.
2) In spite of how badly Sen. Warren and/or her staff have handled this – I gave them every opportunity to fix this obvious mistake – I still support her (albeit with somewhat less enthusiasm) for two primary reasons: 1) I think she, far more than Donald Trump, is the true voice for the 60% of Americans whose real incomes today are lower than they were in 2000 (their anger/frustration is understandable; alas, their solution – electing an obvious madman/con man President – is likely, I believe, to make things worse, not better, for them…); and 2) I share her belief that banking should be boring, and that it’s insane to allow our financial system to be a highly leveraged casino that preys on average Americans.
I wonder if she’ll be smart and gracious enough to sit down with Susan and me so we can put this behind us and figure out how to work together? I’m not holding my breath – I think her fame and power may be going to her head (though I hope I’m wrong – we Democrats need strong, SANE voices now more than ever)…
3) Here’s her inaccurate and misguided Facebook post from Dec. 1st (which is still posted here):
4) Here’s the letter Susan sent her on Dec. 3rd: (I didn’t ask her to write it nor did I edit a word of it; it’s nice to know that, after 26 years together, my wife still loves me and will fight for me!):
Dear Senator Warren,
I have been one of your biggest fans ever since I was a student in your first Harvard Law School bankruptcy class in the fall of 1992. You deftly energized the entire classroom about a subject that many would find boring, and I marveled at your ability to break down complicated concepts into language that was easy to understand. I have followed your career with pride, cheering from the sidelines as you rose to national attention for your excellent work on behalf of consumers. I read and loved your book, and my husband and I supported your senatorial campaign. We are not Massachusetts residents and could not vote for you ourselves, but we did our best to encourage friends and family who could vote for you to do so. More recently, we donated $1,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign just so we could hear you speak at a Women Lawyer’s for Hillary event at Skadden, Arps’s offices in September. We believe that you are a profoundly intelligent and empathic person who is passionate about making our country better for all Americans.
It is for all these reasons that I cannot shake the deep sense of disappointment that I have been feeling since I read your Facebook post on Thursday, December 1, in which you made highly critical and unfair statements about my husband, Whitney Tilson, without doing any fact-checking whatsoever. First, you called him a “billionaire hedge fund manager,” which, I can assure you, is laughably far from the truth. Second, you clearly know nothing about him if you could ever characterize him as being “thrilled” about anything that Donald Trump is doing. In the months leading up to Trump’s election, Whitney did little else but use his bully pulpit (through Facebook and vast e-mail lists that he typically uses to share information about investing and education reform, which is his passion) to keep Trump from the Oval Office. The two of us, inspired by your talk at Skadden, even spent a day with friends in Bethlehem, PA, going door to door to register voters for the Clinton campaign. We believe that Donald Trump personifies greed, corruption, and ignorance, and we are deeply dismayed by the reality of his election to the presidency. We have three daughters on the cusp of adulthood, and this is not the world we imagined for them.
That said, the quote you took from the Bloomberg piece as the basis for your rant was meant to be less of a statement in support of Trump’s financial picks than one of relief that they weren’t worse. Furthermore, if you had read to the end of the article, right before you are quoted, you would have seen the following:
Tilson, who was relieved Trump picked an industry veteran instead of a wildcard, still has concerns, especially because Trump promised to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act, enacted after the financial crisis almost toppled the global economy.
“I’m a fan of Dodd-Frank, I think banking should be boring,” said Tilson, who voted for Hillary Clinton. “I worry about Wall Street returning to being a