Wall Street wonder Carl Icahn, 79, who’s made a name for himself in business, investing and philanthropy, had nothing but praise for the man he’s just endorsed for president, Donald Trump, saying his fellow billionaire businessman is the only candidate out there who can save America.
“I would say it’s an endorsement. I think at this moment in time, he’s the only candidate that speaks out about the country’s problems,” Icahn told Bloomberg on Tuesday. “I’m behind Trump.”
Icahn first announced his support and outlined his views in a short video titled “Danger Ahead.”
Icahn says that while he disagrees with Trump on “certain issues,” he believes America “needs somebody to wake it up.”
“Maybe he’s brash, but he’s willing to say what he believes and he’s willing to say, ‘Hey, this is complete bulls—,’” Icahn said in the video, which is posted on his website.
“The middle class guy who’s making $50,000 a year realizes ‘I’m being taken advantage of.’ He can read, he can understand. Ya know, in czarist Russia, they had to have a revolution. And then the czars would bring out the machine guns and mow them down. All these guys have to do is vote.”
Trump had publicly courted Icahn since launching his campaign, repeatedly naming him to his wish-list of Treasury secretaries – something Icahn at first seemed reluctant to embrace. But he’s since come around to the idea.
As CNN reported, Icahn sent out a tweet in early August that read: “After last night’s debate, I decided to accept @realDonaldTrump offer for Secretary of Treasury.”
Icahn added “we are in dire need of a breath of fresh air,” but later rescinded the offer to serve in a Trump administration while still singing Trump’s praises.
“His ego permits him to – where a lot of these other presidents don’t – surround himself with really good people,” Icahn told Reuters. “Not just me, but others.”
Icahn, to Reuters, said one of Trump’s characteristics that sets him apart from the other candidates, and makes him the best man for the White House job, is his willingness and skill to hand pick excellent advisers with reputations as the best of the best.
“He needs as many good people as he can get in this environment today,” Icahn said. “We certainly don’t see that in many of these presidents.”
Like Trump, Icahn is known for his outspoken views and has similar roots in New York City.
“I want to speak out now because, I know this may sound corny but I grew up in the streets of Queens,” Icahn said in his video. “I love this country and I feel so strongly abut the dysfunction that is going on both in Washington and the boardrooms of corporate America.”
Icahn said one problem facing the country is the carried interest loophole, which allows earnings of hedge-fund managers and other private-equity firms to be taxed at a lower rate than normal income. Trump said he wants to eliminate the tax break.
“People on Wall Street, they’re good friends of mine,” Icahn said. “I like them. But not having to pay full taxes on money that you’re earning is an absurdity.”
The Wall Street guru also said U.S. companies have been doing a great disservice to the economy by camping profits in overseas’ ventures, via complicated tax schemes.
“If we don’t really allow these companies to bring the money back that they are making [overseas], they are just going to move out of this country,” he said. “It’s going to happen more quickly than they think. While Congress is sort of fiddling around, this thing is being done. The country is burning and they’re fiddling.”
Trump’s just released tax plan shows his intent to bring companies back to domestic soil. He’s campaigned on the idea that China takes too much advantage of America’s economy and U.S. businesses ought to have a restructured tax code to allow them to better compete and grow.