Is JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon trying to launch a shadow campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination? It's beginning to look that way.
Because two days after Dimon appeared on ABC's "This Week" to publicly declare (for the second time) that he regretted his combative remarks about President Trump while the CEO insisted that he had no interest in politics (though Dimon clarified that he'd "never say never"), former Trump top economic advisor Gary Cohn chimed in during a Reuters event on Monday and said Dimon would make a "phenomenal" president, Bloomberg reported.
"I think Jamie would make a phenomenal president, I think Jamie would be a spectacular president," Cohn, who stepped down as Trump’s top economic adviser earlier this year, said Monday at an event hosted by Reuters in New York. It’s "very similar to running a complex, multinational, global firm."
To be sure, Cohn avoided the subject of whether Dimon might be able to best Trump in an election.
Still, Cohn didn’t say whether he thought Dimon could defeat Trump in an election - the question that set off a public fracas between the head of the nation’s largest bank and the US president last week. Dimon picked the fight at a bank event Sept. 12, boasting off-the-cuff that he could beat Trump to become president himself.
"I’m as tough as he is, I’m smarter than he is" said Dimon, who then got personal: "This wealthy New Yorker actually earned his money. It wasn’t a gift from daddy."
As a reminder, Dimon bragged last week that he could beat Trump in an election because he was "as tough...and smarter than he is."
"I’m as tough as he is, I’m smarter than he is," said Dimon, who then got personal: "This wealthy New Yorker actually earned his money. It wasn’t a gift from daddy."
Despite Dimon swiftly expressing regret over his intemperate outburst (he told reporters that he regretted the comments though he never apologized to Trump), the president swiftly fired back on Twitter, slamming Dimon as a "nervous mess" while adding that he lacks "the aptitude and smarts" to be a successful president.
The problem with banker Jamie Dimon running for President is that he doesn’t have the aptitude or “smarts” & is a poor public speaker & nervous mess - otherwise he is wonderful. I’ve made a lot of bankers, and others, look much smarter than they are with my great economic policy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2018
Trump later retweeted a comment from Dan Scavino mocking Dimon.
Jamie Dimon loves President Trump. If he were to run in 2020, he’d have a ZERO percent chance. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/R5d63YOQ0m— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) September 13, 2018
During the Reuters event, Cohn was asked about his portrayal in Bob Woodward's "Fear", a book where Cohn is portrayed as constantly pushing back against Trump's agenda, even purportedly going so far as to remove papers from the president's desk that would have authorized the cancellation of two crucial trade pacts (including Nafta).
Cohn declined to answer a question Monday about his portrayal in journalist Bob Woodward’s book on the Trump administration, "Fear." Woodward wrote that Cohn was among a group of top Trump aides who sought to prevent the president from taking actions they regarded as potentially harmful to the U.S. and that Cohn removed paperwork from Trump’s desk that would have withdrawn the country from a trade deal with South Korea had it been signed.
"I’ve said what I’m going to say on the Woodward book," Cohn said.
He was referring, of course, to his half-hearted and conspicuously delayed denial of the book's claims - though of course Cohn didn't specify exactly to what he was objecting.
With the presidential field wide open for 2020, and the media hype machine settling on a new 'frontrunner' from week to week (their most recent candidate? John Kerry), it's clear that Dimon would have as good a shot as anybody, though he promised JPM shareholders back in January that he would remain at the helm for at least another five years. But then again, as the old saying goes, promises are made to broken.