POLITICS

Ex-Goldman Sachs CEO Fires Back At Warren For Ad Attacking Billionaires

Billionaire Lloyd Blankfein accused Warren of "tribalism," in an apparent dig at her claimed Native American ancestry.

Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein fired back on Thursday after Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a campaign advertisement attacking him and other billionaires critical of her plan to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Blankfein, who headed the Wall Street bank during the 2007 financial crisis and is now senior chairman, tweeted that he was “surprised to be featured” in the ad because he aligns with Warren “on many issues.”

“Vilification of people as a member of a group may be good for her campaign, not the country,” Blankfein wrote.

Then, in an apparent dig at Warren’s oft-criticized claims of Native American ancestry, he added: “Maybe tribalism is just in her DNA.”

Goldman Sachs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Warren’s ad, titled “Elizabeth Warren Stands Up to Billionaires,” premiered Thursday on CNBC. It calls out Blankfein, along with hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Ricketts and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. 

Cooperman also took a swipe at Warren’s ancestry claims during an interview with CNBC on Thursday.

“We don’t need another fabricator in the White House,” he said. 

Warren’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Warren has struck a nerve among some of the country’s most prominent billionaires with her signature plan to tax the wealthy. Her proposal calls for a 2% wealth tax on fortunes larger than $50 million, and a 3% tax on every dollar of net worth above $1 billion, to pay for things like “Medicare for All” and universal child care. The tax, popular among voters ― even millionaire voters ― would apply to just 75,000 households, Warren estimates. 

But a chorus of billionaires have sharply criticized Warren for targeting their fortunes. 

“She uses some pretty harsh words, you know, some would say vilifies successful people,” Jamie Dimon, CEO and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, said earlier this month on CNBC. “I don’t like vilifying anybody. I think we should applaud successful people.”

Microsoft founder Bill Gates spoke out against Warren’s tax plan at The New York Times DealBook conference earlier this month.

“I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes. I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes. If I had to pay $20 billion, it’s fine,” Gates said.

“But when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over,” he continued, noting that he thought high taxes for the rich would stifle American innovation.

Cooperman, in an interview with Politico last month, said: “I believe in a progressive income tax and the rich paying more. But this is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.”

He later complained to Warren in a letter that she has “proceeded to admonish me (as if a parent chiding an ungrateful child) to ‘pitch in a bit more so everyone else has a chance at the American dream.’”

CONVERSATIONS