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‘I wanted to straighten her out’: Billionaire’s scathing letter to Elizabeth Warren

In an indication of their hostility to a theoretical President Warren, Wall Street donors have lavished resources on President Donald Trump and on more moderate Democrats, including Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

For Warren, who is now polling near the top of the Democratic primary field, attacks from Wall Street have been welcome — both as a signal of her populist credibility and as a rallying cry for small donors. In September, when CNBC’s Jim Cramer went on a rant about how fearful Wall Street executives were of her possible nomination, she posted the video on Twitter and responded, “I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message.”

And while Warren’s signature issues include ambitious structural changes like “Medicare for All” and combating climate change, many of her other policy ideas relate to shoring up the middle class by overhauling Wall Street.

Her “Stop Wall Street Looting” bill would curtail the freedoms of private-equity companies, for instance, and her idea to reestablish the Glass-Steagall Act would break up big banks. She has also taken aim at the wealthy, proposing among other things a so-called ultramillionaire tax that would force households worth $US50 million to $US1 billion ($73 million to $1.45 billion) to pay 2 per cent of their wealth in taxes annually.

These issues have gnawed at Cooperman, who used his five-page letter to rebut some of Warren’s platform. Citing entrepreneurs like Home Depot founders Ken Langone, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank and Bloomberg media company founder and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Cooperman argued that many entrepreneurs — himself included — started off with few resources and have long shared the wealth they earned with needier people. He argued that the economists advising Warren have made “highly dubious assumptions,” such as focusing on gross, rather than net, taxes. And he suggested that Warren should focus on income opportunity rather than income inequality.

Elizabeth Warren has been attracting a lot of attention from Wall Street.

Elizabeth Warren has been attracting a lot of attention from Wall Street. Credit:Bloomberg

This is not Cooperman’s first attack on Warren.

In a television interview October 16, he predicted that stocks would fall 25 per cent if Warren were elected. On October 23, he told Politico that Warren was soiling the American dream and used profane language to make his point.

It was then that Warren issued her own tweet, exhorting Cooperman, whose estimated net worth is $US3.2 billion: “Leon, you were able to succeed because of the opportunities this country gave you. Now why don’t you pitch in a bit more so everyone else has a chance at the American dream, too?”

Alerted to the tweet, Cooperman, who said he plans to donate most of his wealth to philanthropic causes, was offended.

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“She mischaracterised who I was, and I wanted to straighten her out,” he said.

He then began composing the letter.

Warren is one of two Democratic candidates to have sworn off high-dollar fundraisers in her presidential bid, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. She previously raised money from large donors for her Senate races and transferred $US10 million of those funds to seed her presidential campaign, which her rivals have increasingly begun pointing out.

The New York Times

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