For the second time in three weeks, Sen. Elizabeth Warren embraced Wall Street executives' fear of her potential presidency after CNBC reported Thursday that several anonymous bankers threatened to back President Donald Trump in the 2020 election if Warren becomes the Democratic nominee.
"I think if she can show that the tax code of 2017 was basically nonsense and only helped corporations, Wall Street would not like the public thinking about that."
—Wall Street executive
CNBC spoke to one executive who said they were considering supporting Trump in the general election fundraising cycle to keep Warren from winning.
"You're in a box because you're a Democrat and you're thinking, 'I want to help the party, but she's going to hurt me, so I'm going to help President Trump,'" the executive said.
The executives' comments illustrated the very political system that the Massachusetts Democrat aims to tear down as president, Warren suggested in a tweet Thursday night.
I'm fighting for an economy and a government that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected. I'm not afraid of anonymous quotes, and wealthy donors don't get to buy this process. I won't back down from fighting for the big, structural change we need. https://t.co/nx7GczQhHl
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 26, 2019
Another executive said a Warren administration approach to taxation could plainly illustrate the injustice of Trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut for corporations and the wealthy.
"I think if she can show that the tax code of 2017 was basically nonsense and only helped corporations, Wall Street would not like the public thinking about that," the banker told CNBC.
Warren plans to require the wealthiest Americans to pay a two percent tax on any assets over $50 million in order to help fund a universal childcare program, investment in rural healthcare and community services, and affordable higher education.
The executives' comments came weeks after CNBC anchor Jim Cramer said many on Wall Street are afraid of a potential Warren presidency and believe "she's got to be stopped."
The senator tweeted "I approve this message" at the time, while supporters observed that the Warren campaign could benefit from a campaign ad using Wall Street's own words.
On Thursday, political observers again said big banks are advertising Warren's strengths as they share their concerns over her plans to rein in Wall Street's power—not just with her tax plan but also her proposals to limit executive compensation, force private equity firms to pay the debts of the companies they buy, and hold executives accountable for their firms' wrongdoing.
Did... did the Warren campaign pay for this https://t.co/eQ4MsTR0kR
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 26, 2019
Wall Street continues to make campaign ads for Elizabeth Warren. https://t.co/CEkPHXZxye
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) September 27, 2019
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The bankers' suggestion that they would rather back Trump—days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she was pursuing an impeachment inquiry following a whistleblower's revelation that the president asked the Ukrainian president for help winning the 2020 election—"confirms Warren's whole worldview" and approach to Wall Street, economist Paul Krugman tweeted.
This sort of confirms Warren's whole worldview, doesn't? Big Finance, given the choice between treason and a wealth tax, chooses treason https://t.co/hcnGcpY4vq
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) September 26, 2019
Warren's response to the CNBC article was juxtaposed by reports of former Vice President Joe Biden's appearance at a fundraiser in Los Angeles Thursday night.
While the senator was pledging not to "back down from fighting for the big, structural change we need," Biden was telling a donor that while the wealthy shouldn't expect a tax cut from his administration if he wins in 2020, there will be "no punishment, either."
From the pool report of Thursday night’s Biden fundraiser in LA:
“Biden again joked that they shouldn’t expect a tax cut from him.
‘It ain’t comin’, it ain’t gonna come,’ Biden said, locking eyes with one donor. ‘But! No punishment, either.’”
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 27, 2019
The New York Times reported Thursday that—growing wary of recent positive polling for progressives Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has also pledged to get big money out of politics—Biden allies are considering forming a super PAC on his behalf.
Biden has said he opposes super PACs, but news that his supporters may rely on unlimited fundraising in an effort to propel him to the nomination served as a contrast to Warren's approach and comments about her from Wall Street.
"The Democratic nominee should be chosen by voters, not millionaires and corporate special interests," End Citizens United president Tiffany Muller told the Times.