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US executives see a Trump victory in 2024

by SuperiorInvest

Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump gestures as he takes the stage at his caucus night watch party in Des Moines, Iowa, US, on January 15, 2024.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

DAVOS, Switzerland — World business leaders may be in the snowy hills of Switzerland, but their conversations keep coming back to Washington, D.C.

The topic of Donald Trump has dominated dinners and parties in Davos, and many attendees at the World Economic Forum are reflecting on the former president’s possible return to the White House after his resounding victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Several business executives have noted a theme in their private discussions during the summit: American industry leaders seem overwhelmingly baffled by a second Trump term, while foreign chief executives are terrified, particularly over immigration restrictions and possible global conflicts.

A prominent American business executive, who asked not to be identified because his conversations with foreign leaders were private, said part of the fear may be due to a lack of understanding of the checks and balances built into the American government.

“I’m not sure Europeans understand how weak executive orders are,” that person said. “We have a justice system. Congress will probably be divided. It’s right to be cautious, but it won’t be the end of the world.”

Another US bank chief executive privately expressed annoyance at media hype about the threat of a Trump presidency, emphasizing that he is “all bark and no bite”. The bank chief also called Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election an exaggeration.

“He’s going to win the presidency,” the CEO predicted. “Many of his policies were correct.”

predictions for 2024

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO, president and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on January 17, 2024.

Adam Galici | CNBC

While JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon wouldn’t predict a Trump victory, echoing his fellow bank CEO’s comments in an interview Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“Just step back and be honest. I was right about NATO. I was right about immigration, it grew the economy pretty well. Trade. Tax reform worked. I was right about some of China,” he said. Dimon. “I don’t like the way he said things about Mexico, but he wasn’t wrong on some of these critical issues. And that’s why they’re voting for him.”

Still, while Dimon also echoed the sentiment that an apocalypse is unlikely, he noted that he hopes “the country survives” whether with President Joe Biden’s re-election or Trump’s return to the White House, even when some fear that American democracy will be affected. threatened by his return.

“I will be prepared for both, we will take care of both, my company will survive and thrive in both,” Dimon said.

A partner at a large global private equity firm said privately that he was surprised by the lack of concern among U.S. executives over Trump’s refusal to accept his 2020 election loss and the subsequent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. of 2021.

Another former Trump administration official said there is more cause for concern this time because many of the people who kept Trump’s harmful impulses in check will not work with him if he returns to office.

Steve Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone Group, speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on January 17, 2024.

Adam Galici | CNBC

black stone CEO Stephen Schwarzman expressed another common theme among executives: that both Trump and Biden are poor choices.

“I think we have an interesting presidential election now, where there are a lot of negatives, as you know, for both candidates,” Schwarzman said, adding that he is waiting to see how things develop. “I’m still not as deep in the hypothetical world as you would like. And we’ll see what happens. There are always surprises in these elections.”

Ben Smith, co-founder of the business news outlet Semafor, told CNBC on Thursday that many in Davos told him Trump is likely to win, but given Davos’ poor track record of predictions in past years, that may actually be an indicator. for Biden. .

Smith and several other Davos attendees noted that predictions made at the World Economic Forum have historically proven false, including past comments about recession prospects and the likelihood of Trump winning the presidency in 2016.

“This year is an absolute show of faith that Donald Trump will be elected president of the United States, which I think is great news for Joe Biden,” Smith said in an interview on “Squawk Box.”

Cross country

As Wall Street executives were open and preparing for a Trump victory in 2024, several tech leaders declined to comment on Trump or downplayed what others saw as a potential threat to the US government.

“Obviously the US government is a big Salesforce customer and depending on who’s in office, it creates a lot of buzz in a different part of our employee base,” Marc Benioff said. Sales forceBloomberg CEO, in an interview Tuesday with Brad Stone. “But the reality is that we are the same company, regardless of when the election occurs. And regardless of who will be the president.”

Marc Benioff, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, speaking with CNBC’s Sara Eisen at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on January 17, 2024.

Adam Galici | CNBC

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, who also spoke with Stone, expressed similar sentiments.

“I think the elections are, you know, great deals. I think the United States will be fine,” Altman said. “It doesn’t matter what happens in this election.”

Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman said it’s simply too early to focus on what Trump may or may not mean for the country this time.

“Honestly, I think they need to see how the primary plays out,” Friedman said.

WATCH: Jamie Dimon’s full interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box

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