Politico reports: Billionaire investor Steve Schwarzman’s newfound status as a trusted outside adviser for President Donald Trump has created blurred lines in which the Blackstone CEO is offering guidance on policies that could boost the fortunes of his company and his personal wealth.
The starkest example was Trump’s reversal last week on labeling China a currency manipulator — a central campaign pledge that could have dealt a major blow to U.S.-China relations. While many factors likely played into Trump’s decision, including the president’s desire to encourage China to get tough on North Korea, it also followed extensive advice Schwarzman had given the president on the topic, warning Trump against such a move.
Even if Schwarzman was acting in the capacity of an economic expert, those policy changes directly help Schwarzman’s bottom line as CEO of Blackstone, the private equity giant.
And Blackstone has gone so far as to warn its investors about the stakes of Trump’s China policy. In a recent regulatory filing, Blackstone explicitly warned its investors that Trump’s tough talk on China threatened to hurt Blackstone’s portfolio. [Continue reading…]