Elections

Billionaire Backs Trump After Shocking Surprise

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump can add the support of two more billionaires to his recent whirlwind of momentum, one of which was shocked when a big donation he sent was returned by a Trump political action committee (PAC).

Andrew Beal and Thomas Barrack join Carl Icahn in the billionaire class supporting Trump’s presidency. Beal, founder of Beal Bank in Dallas, once organized an attempted bankruptcy takeover of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. with Icahn. Beal says Trump’s outsider mystique, illustrated in a $100,000 donation returned to Beal by Trump’s PAC, makes him different than the current crowd of lifetime politicians, report The Wall Street Journal.

“There are no hard feelings,” Beal told The Wall Street Journal. “He’s smart and gets things done. I have never had a politician give me my money back.”

Barrack, billionaire chairman of investment firm Colony Capital, said Trump knows how to sell, which makes him less anxious about some of Trump’s more inflammatory and controversial rhetoric. Barrack believes Trump to be pragmatic and logical, which will lead to more measured decisions if he actually gets elected.

“He would adapt and come to logical conclusions…that’s my belief,” Barrack told The Wall Street Journal. “The rhetoric that seems harsh would dissipate.”

Trump’s billionaire supporters are exacerbated with Washington’s policies, which they argue are crippling business growth with burdensome taxes and out of control regulations. Beal says Trump would bring “radical change” to the government and will have the right priorities as a lifelong businessman. Icahn, who Trump floated as his secretary of the treasury, echos these sentiments, warning economic turmoil is ahead and Trump’s business acumen and steady hand are what the U.S. economy needs.

Former legal battles between the billionaires paint a slightly different picture, showing personal grievances between Trump, Icahn and Beal. During the attempted takeover of Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009, Icahn and Beal’s lawyers wrote that Trump’s name was fading from being, “synonymous with business acumen, high quality and style, a luxury lifestyle and enormous success.”

“There was absolutely no animosity,” Icahn, who succeeded in acquiring Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2014, said. “I respect him, and he made a good deal with [bondholders] and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Trump’s support among some in the billionaire class is at odds with Wall Street sentiment that appears fearful of a Trump presidency. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said in September the thought of Trump in possession of the nuclear codes frightens him. Some warn of stock market volatility because of Trump’s unpredictable rhetoric. Other experts fear a trade war or U.S. recession if Trump enacts his rhetoric on tariffs. (RELATED: ‘Nightmare For Investors’: A Trump Presidency Is Terrifying Wall Street)

Trump’s campaign celebrated the hefty endorsements, noting the great success of Beal and Barrack in the private sector. Trump also reiterated his gratefulness to Icahn for his endorsement.

“It is truly an honor to receive the endorsement of two individuals I hold in the highest regard,” Trump said Feb. 29 in a press release. “They are smart, successful and the kind of business leaders our country needs to help negotiate trade deals, create jobs and spur economic development. I am proud to have their support and the support of two business leaders including Carl Icahn.”

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