Seattle/New York: It’s not Trump, it’s America.
That’s the view of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, when asked whether Donald Trump deserves credit for surging stock prices after he won the presidential election in November.
“If I ever get elected president, I will never claim credit for anything the market does,” Buffett said in an interview that aired late Monday on PBS NewsHour. “Because I don’t want to be blamed when it goes the other direction.”
Buffett, who built Berkshire Hathaway Inc. into one of the world’s largest companies, has long sought to separate politics from investing. Even though he supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in the election, he said repeatedly that the country’s economy would do fine no matter who won. Since Trump’s election, Buffett has reiterated his view that the US has a system that’s proven to generate prosperity.
“We will be the economic leader,” Buffett said in the interview. “And we should be the moral leader. We should stand for more than the fact that we’re the wealthiest country.”
The billionaire has advocated many positions popular among Democrats, including abortion rights and higher taxes on the rich. He said in the interview that Trump made a mistake by deciding to exit the landmark Paris accord, which was designed to limit global warming.
Trump has said he needs to put the interest of Americans first and has been quick to take credit for positive developments in the economy. “Since November 8th, Election Day, the Stock Market has posted $3.2 trillion in GAINS and consumer confidence is at a 15 year high. Jobs!” the president said in a Twitter post in March.
Stocks surged after Trump’s election on optimism that his plans to cut taxes and increase infrastructure spending would spur economic growth. Markets continue to trade near record levels even as parts of his policy agenda are stalled.
“The stock market has been going up basically since March of 2009,” said Buffett, 86. “It’s been going up more or less ever since then.