Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world and arguably Wall Street’s most respected investor, gave Republican candidate Donald Trump a piece of his mind on Monday while speaking at a Hillary Clinton rally in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. He challenged the real estate mogul to release his income tax returns and chastised him for offending the family of a US soldier who died in combat. “Have you no sense of decency, sir?,” Buffett asked rhetorically, quoting Senator Joe Welch’s words to Joseph McCarthy during one of the many Communist witch hunt hearings in Congress in 1954.
Buffett’s remarks came just after another millionaire power player, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, spoke out against Trump at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week, accusing him of being a “dangerous demagogue” and a “con.”
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As the 85-year-old president of Berkshire Hathaway introduced Clinton at a rally at Omaha North High Magnet School, he stuck his finger in one of Trump’s sorest wounds: his refusal to release his income tax returns, citing an ongoing audit. “I'm under audit too,” Buffett said. “And I would be delighted to meet him any place, any time, between now and the election...I'll bring my return, he'll bring his return and just let people ask us questions about the items that are on there,” he said to wild applause.
The “Oracle of Omaha,” who owns stocks in Goldman Sachs and Coca-Cola, endorsed Hillary Clinton in December 2015 at an event where he said he was in favor of raising taxes on the rich. His remarks in Omaha on Monday mark his first campaign event since both parties held their conventions and ratified the presidential nominees.
Buffett and Bloomberg’s attacks are especially hurtful to Trump because the Republican candidate has made his status as a businessman one of the pillars of his campaign. He has presented himself as a self-made man who will lead the nation the same way he has led his businesses, promising that the United States will therefore prosper. Yet other, more powerful, moguls like Bloomberg and Buffett have questioned his abilities and warned Americans against a Trump presidency.
More of the country’s great fortunes are backing Clinton instead of Trump, even though she presented the most left-leaning platform the Democratic Party has seen in decades. Mike Cuban, the millionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, also made a surprise appearance at a Clinton event on Saturday.
English version by Dyane Jean-François.