America has failed its least wealthy citizens—and “insulting” those with opposing political views isn’t going to make things better, according to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon.
Speaking at the New York Times DealBook Summit on Wednesday, the Wall Street veteran called on people of all ideological views to do what they can to prevent another Donald Trump presidency.
“If you’re a very liberal Democrat, I urge you: help Nikki Haley,” he said. “Get a choice on the Republican side that might be better than Trump.”
Asked whether he believed the best outcome for the election was “anyone but Trump,” Dimon responded: “I would never say that.”
“He might be the president, I have to deal with that too,” he joked—but he noted that he didn’t mind criticizing whoever ends up in the Oval Office.
Stop slamming MAGA movement, Dimon says
While he made it clear he wasn’t the biggest fan of Trump returning to office, Dimon urged Americans on Wednesday to put aside some of their ideological differences and look for the nuance in others’ political beliefs.
“We should stop talking about ultra-MAGA,” he insisted. “I think you’re insulting a large group of people, and making this assumption, scapegoating—which the press is pretty good at too—that these people believe in Trump’s family values and are supporting the personal person. I don’t think that’s true.”
A lot of the support for Trump’s so-called MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) campaign, Dimon argued, came from specific things he had called out or achieved during his presidency.
“I think what [supporters are] looking at is the economy was pretty good—the Black community had the lowest unemployment rate ever in his last year,” he said. “He wasn’t wrong about China. He wasn’t wrong about NATO. He was wrong about the misuse of the military. So that’s why—they’re looking at that.”
He called on people to do what they can to consider why people take opposing views. For Democrats, he suggested reading the work of conservative columnist George Will, while he said Republicans ought to look up the work of Pulitzer winning columnist Thomas Friedman.
“We should get out of this [idea that] it’s one way or the other,” he said. “I’m not mad at people who are anti-abortion. If you believe in God and that conception starts at the moment of birth, you are not a bad person. I think people need to stop denigrating each other all the time because people take a point of view that is slightly different than yours. We’re a democracy—people should vote and solve some of these issues, and they won’t always be what you want.”
‘What the hell have we done?’
While there has been some speculation that Dimon himself may some day run for office, he’s denied having any political ambitions for now.
However, he made it clear on Wednesday what he would have done differently to former president Trump or incumbent candidate Joe Biden.
“We’ve done a terrible job taking care of our bottom 30% of earners,” he said, telling the audience: “You all are wealthy and have money, but their average, their average wages are [low].”
“They’re the ones who lost their job in COVID,” he added. “They’re the ones who are dying five or six years younger than the rest of us. They’re the ones who don’t have medical insurance. They’re the ones whose schools don’t work, and they’re the ones dealing with crime. What the hell have we done as a nation?”
Insisting that “we need to fix it,” the JPMorgan chief said the U.S. needed better immigration, education and infrastructure policies—and he pledged to do what he could to help make that a reality.
“Whoever’s president, I’m going to try to help do the best job possible,” he said, before sharing an anecdote about his wife and daughters criticizing him for going to the White House years ago to meet with then-president Trump.
“I will walk into that oval office trying to help whoever is the president of the United States to do a better job for our people,” he added. “I don’t agree with a lot of things [Trump] does… [but] I couldn’t imagine saying ‘I’m not going to go into the White House because of who’s there.’”
Tax the rich, help the poor
During the DealBook Summit talks, Business Insider reported that Dimon was also asked by audience member and billionaire hedge funder Bill Ackman—who once urged the JPMorgan CEO to run for president—what he would hypothetically do if he were to be elected president of the United States.
He said he would start by building a cabinet of “really smart, talented brainy people” that included both Republicans and Democrats, before tackling education, immigration and “doubling down on diplomacy.”
Dimon—who has a personal net worth of $1.8 billion, according to Forbes—also said presidents should have an economic growth strategy that included “proper taxation” policies, adding that he would double the earned income tax credit for low earners “tomorrow.”
“I’d make people like you pay a little bit more,” he also told Ackman. “This carried interest stuff would be gone the day I got in office because it is unfair.”
The carried interest loophole—which Ackman has previously slammed as a “stain on the tax code”—allows private equity and hedge fund managers to lower their tax bill on profits from fund investments.