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BILL ACKMAN: Here's how Trump can still have a 'successful presidency'

Julia La Roche

Back in May at the SALT Conference, activist investing billionaire Bill Ackman said President Donald Trump could turn his troubled presidency around if he stopped focusing on the media and just started making some progress on his policy promises.

Five months later, Ackman, the CEO of the $11 billion Pershing Square Capital, offered an update.

“I think he needs to get some things done,” Ackman told Yahoo Finance in the video above. “And I think corporate tax reform, obviously, is very high on his list right now.”

Ackman added that this is something where he sees Trump getting bipartisan support.

“Everyone in Congress recognizes that we’re losing business,” he said. “We’re not globally competitive because our tax rate is too high. Today, any global business can locate anywhere it wants. And as a result, there’s a huge incentive for foreign companies to buy our companies and relocate them because they can do so and pay lower taxes.”

After tax reform, Ackman says Trump should address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which he characterized as the “last piece of unfinished business” from the financial crisis.

William ‘Bill’ Ackman, CEO and Portfolio Manager of Pershing Square Capital Management REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
William ‘Bill’ Ackman, CEO and Portfolio Manager of Pershing Square Capital Management REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

He added that if he were president, he would not have started with health care.

“Most presidents get the order reversed. For whatever reason, every president decides to start with health care and health care is very difficult. It’s a morass,” Ackman said. “So, I think just by getting some things done will help the president rebuild, have a successful presidency.”

At SALT, Ackman said he Trump should’ve focused first on infrastructure, which is something he believes would get bipartisan support. And the private sector, he said, should take the lead. At the time, he compared Amtrak, a government-run enterprise, to Canadian Pacific, a Canadian railroad company run by an American CEO. He said the railroad industry in the private sector is efficient and well-maintained.

“Why shouldn’t toll roads and bridges be a regulated, utility-like private sector enterprise?” Ackman said at the time.

An activist investor, Ackman is known for taking large positions in a handful of companies and pushing for changes from management.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.