Billionaire investor George Soros said Donald Trump is playing into the hands of terrorists by creating fear of Muslims in an effort to get elected.
“Donald Trump is doing the work of Isis,” Soros said on the sidelines at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Trump and others like him want “people to turn against Muslims, treat them with suspicion, and convince the Muslim community that there is no alternative — except terrorism. It turns the young Muslim community into a breeding ground for terrorists.”
With less than two weeks before voting begins and Trump in the Republican Party lead, Soros is joining business and political leaders gathered at the Swiss ski resort in speaking out against the billionaire property developer.
While political change is essential, Trump is offering the wrong kind, according to BlackRock founder Larry Fink.
“For those constantly focused on re-election and nothing more, we need a revolution,” said Fink, a major donor to past Democratic Party campaigns.
“Unfortunately, now the revolution may be Donald Trump,” he said.
Soros, who acknowledged he is biased in this matter, said he doesn’t think Trump has a chance of being elected.
“He may have the role of king-maker” because “he will get quite a few votes,” Soros said.
Clinton is a done deal for the Democrats, he said, “and I do think she is the one who is most qualified. But that is my bias.”
While calling Trump unbelievable, embarrassing or even dangerous, business executives and finance leaders said that he had nevertheless hit a vein with his direct talk.
Here are some of the comments about Donald Trump heard this week at the annual gathering:
Huffington Post news website founder Arianna Huffington: “I feel the mainstreaming of Donald Trump, instead of him being treated as an extreme, dangerous candidate, is really the most troubling aspect of American politics right now.
“He’s being interviewed on all the main shows, and he’s being asked questions about what his first state of the union address would be like if he wins, instead of actually being forced to answer the tough questions about his policy, especially his policy of wanting to ban Muslims from entering the US, which is so dangerous, so un-American and should really be the centre of the coverage of Trump.
“We (at Huffington Post) first covered him as entertainment, as a sort of buffoonish figure.
“But the day he announced that policy we switched to cover him as a clear and present danger to the American political system and to America and its values. I think the GOP (Republican party) is in real trouble if he becomes the lead candidate.
“But there’s a long way between now and the nominating convention.”
Dominic Barton, global managing director for business consultancy McKinsey: “This is a political campaign that’s become entertainment. I almost feel like anything you ask, Trump will have some radically different view.
“If I were to say it takes nine months to make a baby, he could say ‘that’s crap, it should take three’ or something.”
“It’s a bit embarrassing globally. But I think there’s a big difference between the rhetoric and the reality, and I think most people will see that and discount it. But it’s incredible how long it has been going for. It’s just unbelievable.”
Ray Nolte, chief investment officer, Skybridge Capital, a $13bn (€12bn) hedge fund: “Is Donald going to be the nominee? I don’t know. It’s sure looking that way now.
“The takeaway from here, is that anyone here who is in the mainstream says there is no way he could possibly get the nomination. When I hear that, it probably means it is going to happen.
“Among the historic party elites, none of them can believe what is going on. If you had gone into the campaigns, a Bush campaign and Rubio campaign, they were saying: ‘We don’t need to pay attention to Trump. The guy is a buffoon, he is a clown, he will blow himself up’. This was back six/seven months ago, that was the narrative.”
John McFarlane, chairman of Barclays: “You have an election in the US that has taken a rather strange turn.
“Is Trump going to get the nomination? People would argue no, but then he is very popular.”
Eric Cantor, former Republican majority leader in the US House of Representatives, now vice-chairman of investment bank Moelis & Co: “He’s not serious. He’s amazing at promoting his personal brand and reflecting an underlying anger at home that is connected to a slow-growth economy where wage stagnation is real.
“But Trump Fever is an unsustainable phenomenon that will not translate into a victory for the candidate.”
Rodrigo Valdes, finance minister of Chile, on rhetoric in the US presidential election: “Clearly it is not a rhetoric that is inviting for integration.
“In Chile we have a deep view that integration of the Americas is a good thing, whether it is goods, financing and yes, people.
“So I’d be happier with a more welcoming rhetoric. It is uncontroversial to say that integration of markets, of trade is a good thing and this rhetoric does not help that.”
Rob Torres, managing director of Google Travel: “The majority of folks underestimate the Trump power right now. ”
Mark Weinberger, global chairman and chief executive of consultancy EY: “Donald Trump clearly has hit a vein of the American people in straight talk, candor, and saying clearly what he’s going to do.
“When you get to the second and third questions on some of the policies he’s raising, people are going to have to look a lot more at it and understand it before they pull a curtain and they’re actually gonna vote for someone who’s anti- establishment.”
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