Who Are the 100 Businesspeople Backing Trump?
Policy + Politics

Who Are the 100 Businesspeople Backing Trump?


A column by Andrew Ross Sorkin in The New York Times two weeks ago wondered why Donald Trump didn’t have much business backing if he was such a great businessman.

“Mr. Trump has campaigned as a successful businessman, a brilliant negotiator … He has contended that his economic policies will unleash unheard-of levels of growth — as much as 6 percent,” wrote Sorkin. “And yet here we are: Many of the most successful business people in the country refuse to support him — or do business with him, either.”

Now the Trump campaign has answered back.

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An open letter signed by 100 “business leaders” – including a dozen women – bypasses the recent controversy over the GOP presidential nominee’s comments about and behavior toward women and focuses on his economic plan.

“The Trump economic plan is comprehensive and far-reaching. It cuts taxes, stops trade cheating, reduces regulations, unleashes America’s powerful energy sector and eliminates our growth-draining trade deficit,” the letter says. “This potent combination of tax, trade, energy and regulatory reforms will accelerate our GDP growth rate, create millions of jobs, and trillions of dollars in new additional income and tax revenues.”

The so-called leaders include Irma Aguirre, the owner of a Mexican restaurant in Las Vegas; Kathy Carr, vice president of sales and marketing for the Howie Carr Show, a syndicated radio talk show starring her husband; and Bradley Crate, deputy chief financial officer for Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign and founder of a service that helps campaigns and political-action committees comply with Federal Election Commission rules.

But there are big names on the list, too, some of whom have voiced their support for Trump earlier in the campaign. Among them are: New York Jets owner Woody Johnson; oil and gas billionaire Harold Hamm; tech billionaire Peter Thiel; former Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco; Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus; Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants (which owns the Carl’s Jr. chain), who served as an economic advisor to the Romney campaign.

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Wall Street is well represented, with activist investor Carl Icahn; bottom-fisher Wilbur Ross; investor John Paulson, who won big in the housing meltdown; former Goldman Sachs General Partner Lew Eisenberg; former investment banker Charles Glazer; and Anthony Scaramucci, co-managing partner of hedge fund SkyBridge Capital.

In a separate op-ed, DiMicco and Puzder bemoaned the sluggish recovery from the financial crisis.

“In 2010, the White House projected that GDP growth would ‘accelerate in 2011 to 3.8 percent’ and ‘exceed 4 percent per year in 2012-2014,’” they wrote. “However, GDP has averaged about 2 percent since the recession ended, producing the worst economic recovery since World War II.”

DiMicco and Puzder predict that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be an economic disaster, enlarging the “oppressive regulatory state,” stifling the energy industry, driving up electricity and gas prices, and continuing “the bad trade deals that have generated our massive trade deficits — NAFTA, China's entry into the World Trade Organization [and] the 2012 South Korean deal.” Worst of all if Clinton is elected, they warned the Trans-Pacific Partnership “would end manufacturing as we know it in America.”

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They make no mention of the fact that Clinton has withdrawn her support of TPP. There was also nothing said about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s rebuttal of Trump’s trade policies.

The op-ed said Trump would encourage business investment large and small, lower corporate and individual taxes, bring the foreign earnings of U.S. companies home, slash regulatory burdens, bring jobs back to America, cut massive trade deficits and repeal Obamacare.

And the open letter asked: “What’s next in the messy complexity of Obamacare, which is unraveling for millions of Americans before our eyes? It clearly is, as even Bill Clinton has put it, ‘the craziest thing.’”