White House hopeful Elizabeth Warren baits billionaires

Related Topics
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Former Goldman Sachs executive Lloyd Blankfein has criticised Elizabeth Warren's latest ad on the wealth tax

US Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren's latest campaign ad attacking billionaires has prompted pushback from some of its targets.

The ad to promote Ms Warren and her wealth tax proposal aired Thursday on CNBC, featuring cable TV clips of billionaires criticising her.

In response, former Goldman Sachs executive Lloyd Blankfein tweeted: "Maybe tribalism is just in her DNA."

Ms Warren is currently a front-runner in the 2020 race to the White House.

In addition to Mr Blankfein, the ad includes footage of hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

"Some billionaires don't like my #TwoCentWealthTax? I'm shocked," Ms Warren tweeted.

The ad flags details about each, including how Mr Cooperman was charged with insider trading - though he settled the case without admitting wrongdoing in 2017 - and Mr Blankfein earned millions during the financial crash.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Mr Blankfein said he was surprised to have been featured in the ad, "given the many severe critics she has out there".

"Vilification of people as a member of a group may be good for her campaign, not the country. Maybe tribalism is just in her DNA."

Many on Twitter blasted Mr Blankfein's response.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Goldman Sachs has come under scrutiny this month over the credit card it runs for Apple, which has been accused of being sexist by offering women lower credit limits than men.

The bank said this week that those who felt discriminated against could ask for their credit to be reconsidered.

Ms Warren criticised the response, telling Bloomberg News: "So let's just tell every woman in America, 'You might have been discriminated against, on an unknown algorithm, it's on you to telephone Goldman Sachs and tell them to straighten it out'.

"Sorry guys, that's not how it works."

Mr Blankfein's fellow billionaire Mr Cooperman has also spoken out against Ms Warren's tax plan, telling CNBC's Halftime Report programme on Thursday that it "makes no sense".

"It would lead to unnatural acts, be near impossible to police, and is probably unconstitutional."

He did not clarify what he meant by "unnatural acts".

Mr Cooperman has made headlines before for an earlier interview where he became emotional about the 2020 election and political climate.

The billionaire investor also choked up while talking about giving away his fortune - half within his lifetime and half to his family in the form of a foundation where they can "give away the money".

"I don't need Elizabeth Warren or the government giving away my money," he then added.

He has previously said Ms Warren represents "the worst in politicians as she's trying to demonise wealthy people because there are more poor people than wealthy people".

Ms Warren has not directly responded to either Mr Cooperman or Mr Blankfein's latest comments.

On Wednesday, her campaign announced that her "billionaire tears" mugs were back in stock by popular demand.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Microsoft founder Bill Gates also expressed concern over Ms Warren's plan earlier this month.

But a number of America's richest - including investor George Soros and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes - penned an open letter earlier this year calling on candidates to roll out a wealth tax on the super rich.

Who will take on Trump in 2020?

Election day is less than a year away and the race to become the Democratic challenger to Mr Trump is in full swing.

More on this story