Here we go.
On Wednesday, at an event held at JPMorgan’s Park Avenue headquarters, Jamie Dimon contended that were he to run in 2020, he could beat Donald Trump.
And he didn’t stop there.
For those who missed it, Dimon went on to elaborate, delivering a series of scathing remarks about the President in front of an amused audience. Those comments, copied below, subsequently grabbed all manner of headlines. To wit:
Question: Why not throw your hat in the ring, Jamie? [laughter]
Dimon: I mean, I’ve said this before Trump was elected. You’re not going to get a wealthy New Yorker elected president. Boy I was dead wrong. And by the way, this wealthy New Yorker [pointing to himself] actually earned his money. It wasn’t a gift from Daddy. And I grew up in a poorer part of Queens than he did, but I am a banker. I am part of the elite. He…I don’t think the American public looks at Trump as part of the elite. They look at him as the upstart who punched the elite in the nose every day. And so I think…I think I could beat Trump. I can’t beat the liberal side of the Democratic party.
Question: You think you can beat Trump?
Dimon: Yeah. I do, yeah. [laughter] Because I’m as tough as he is, I’m smarter than he is. I would be fine. He could punch me all he wants, it wouldn’t work with me. I’d fight right back. But you have these….the Democratic party….they’ve got to get their act together in terms of understanding how society actually works. Because if they just keep on pounding away at business…I watch these ads on TV with all these people …they’re all running and they’re all going to [wags finger] …business where their place is. Well, OK, right that’s going to really work. That’s going to really succeed……Anyway my wife wouldn’t let me, either. She told me she’d love to be first lady. She did not say that, but I do think it’d be a really interesting White House if she were first lady. It would be a little bit…..you compare yourself, remember that show the Nanny with Fran Drescher? [laughter] She says that, not me.
Over the course of the last six or so months, speculation on a possible Dimon run at the White House has picked up, even as those who suggest it’s possible do so in a kind of tongue-in-cheek fashion.
After setting the financial media on fire with the “Daddy’s money” bit, Dimon tried to walk back his remarks. Here’s his mea culpa:
I should not have said it. I’m not running for president. [My comments] prove I wouldn’t make a good politician. I get frustrated because I want all sides to come together to help solve big problems.
Well, too late, Jamie. On Thursday morning, the President fired back, taking to Twitter to blast Dimon in a characteristically bombastic early-morning broadside.
“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 seethed, adding that “I’ve made a lot of bankers, and others, look much smarter than they are with my great economic policy!”
Dimon, like many CEOs, has been critical of some parts of Trump’s economic policies. Back in June, the Business Roundtable’s quarterly survey showed CEO optimism about hiring, capital investment and sales growth fell for the first time in two years, as confusion about trade policy weighed on the outlook.
As you’re probably aware, the Business Roundtable is chaired by Dimon. Speaking to reporters about the fall in the quarterly survey (which was the first decline since Trump took office), Dimon had the following to offer:
Trade is a very complex thing with many layers. When you talk about it, slogans are very different than policies that makes sense.
That latter bit is of course a derisive reference to Trump’s ill-advised trade bombast.
After Thursday’s Trump tweet, Dimon will be forced to hit back. Because after all, part and parcel of Wednesday’s pseudo-campaign pitch was that if Trump were to attack him, he’d “fight right back”.
Your move, Jamie.