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[Markets] Jamie Dimon Apologizes To Trump (Again), Insists He's "Done With Politics"

Just in case you missed it the first time, JP Morgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon sincerely wants the world to know that he's truly sorry for the mean-spirited comments about President Trump that he made earlier this week. To wit, in an appearance on ABC's "This Week" earlier today, the CEO again insisted that he has no plans to challenge President Trump in 2020. In fact, Dimon insisted, he has no political ambitions whatsoever - which might help assuage the concerns of major JPM shareholders (not to mention members of Dimon's board) who expect him to stick around for at least another four years, like he promised.

"I'm done with politics," Dimon declared in response to a question from ABC's Rebecca Jarvis, blaming his impudent remarks on "machismo." Dimon's decision to quit while he's ahead is hardly surprising, considering has reputation for being one of the most shrewd leaders on Wall Street (and, as ABC pointed out, the last CEO of a major US bank who is still standing 10 years after Lehman's bankruptcy). 

That's because, unlike Trump, Dimon is a staunch Democrat who has insisted that his wealth "wasn't a gift from daddy" (even though his father was a wealthy banker whose connections served as a launchpad for Dimon's own career). And given the recent wave of progressive and socialist candidates, the Democratic base has made it clear that they won't accept another corporatist nominee, especially not a banker like Dimon.

Dimon

For readers who missed the fireworks, Dimon waded into a minor controversy on Wednesday when he boasted to an audience at a JPM philanthropy event that he could beat Trump in an election, adding that "I'm tougher than he [Trump] is, I'm smarter than he is". Though Dimon quickly backpedaled and apologized to Trump, that didn't stop the president from slamming Dimon, who was once rumored to be a top Treasury Secretary pick, as a "nervous mess" and someone who lacks "the smarts and the aptitude" to occupy the Oval Office.

During the interview, Dimon insisted that he's not "ever" going to run for president, and that his intemperate remark "proves" that he wouldn't be a good politician.

JARVIS: So you're, you're done with politics?

DIMON: Yes.

JARVIS: No running for president for you.

DIMON: No.

JARVIS: Ever?

DIMON: Well, I never say never to anything but no.

[...]

DIMON: Yeah, I shouldn't have said it. And I -- more out of frustration and a little of my own machismo, but I shouldn't have said it. And so -- it also proves I wouldn't be a good politician.

Dimon also made it a point to stroke the president's ego by implying that Trump's economic policies deserve the primary credit for the present economic boom, not Obama's.

DIMON: You know, when President Trump was elected confidence skyrocketed, consumers, small business, large corporate and because pro-business, pro-competitive taxes, pro some regulatory reform, and that has helped the economy. So it's impossible for me to tease out how much but it has helped the economy, just like that President Obama helped to stop the economy from getting much worse.

But they also did policies, I think, that slowed down growth. So, some of those are being reversed. So, yeah, he should take some credit for that.

JARVIS: What kind of grade would you give President Trump purely on the economy?

DIMON: I'd say pretty good.

JARVIS: B plus? A minus?

DIMON: Yeah, something like that.

Of course, these are only words (and Dimon did clarify that he "never says never to anything"), and they certainly don't preclude him from having a sudden change of heart between now and the 2020 Iowa Caucuses. But even if Dimon did run, we doubt working Americans would share the media elite's enthusiasm for his wonky policy proposals. Because, while "pragmatic" solutions like converting the earned income tax credit to a payroll tax might win over the New York Times editorial board, its poverty-fighting implications would likely be lost on the average voter. And though we must admit "that's why I'm richer than you" has the makings of an epic campaign slogan, we suspect American workers might find it the slightest bit patronizing.

Published:9/16/2018 11:26:18 AM
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