Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren fired back against billionaires who’ve criticized her proposal to impose a tax on the ultra-wealthy in a fiery new campaign advertisement set to air on Thursday.
Titled “Elizabeth Warren Stands Up To Billionaires,” the one-minute ad opens with Warren telling a campaign rally: “It is time for a wealth tax in America ... I’ve heard that there are some billionaires who don’t support this plan.”
The ad then segues, directly targeting four billionaires — money manager Leon Cooperman, TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and venture capitalist Peter Thiel — who have denounced Warren’s campaign and wealth tax plan.
It attacks Cooperman for insider trading charges levied against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2016; Ricketts for donating millions to the GOP during elections; Blankfein for earning $70 million in 2007, despite Goldman’s role in the financial crisis; and Thiel for funneling money to President Trump’s election campaign in 2016.
Cooperman contested the insider trading charges, and In 2017, as part of a settlement with the SEC, he paid nearly $5 million in fines and penalties and agreed to have an independent compliance monitor at his fund. He did not admit any wrongdoing or agree to an industry ban.
But Cooperman responded to the ad on Thursday, escalating his weeks-long feud with Warren.
“In my opinion, she represents the worst in politicians as she’s trying to demonize wealthy people because there are more poor people than wealthy people,” Cooperman told CNBC. “As far as the accusations of insider trading, I won the case. She’s disgraceful. She doesn’t know who the f--- she’s tweeting. I gave away more in the year than she has in her whole f----ing lifetime.”
The Wall Street legend, who’s worth $3.2 billion, according to Forbes, previously called Warren’s plan to tax wealth “idiocy” and saying she was “basically trying to turn people’s heads around by promising a lot of free stuff,” like Medicare-for-all, canceling student loan debt for the majority of Americans and providing universal childcare.
Under Warren’s proposal, individuals worth more than $50 million would pay a 2 percent tax; that would climb to 6 percent for those worth more than $1 billion.
Warren fired back in a tweet, criticizing Cooperman for his stake in frequently-criticized student loan servicer Navient, while stressing the importance of student loan debt forgiveness.
“I care about an entire generation of students being crushed by student loan debt — deferring their American dream because they can’t afford it,” Warren wrote. “I’m not afraid to stand up to the wealthy and well-connected.”
Other billionaire executives who’ve criticized Warren’s candidacy include JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former New York City Mayor (and potential 2020 rival) Michael Bloomberg.
“I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes. I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes. If I had to have paid $20 billion, it’s fine. But when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over,” Gates said last week, later adding that he was “just kidding.”
Gates would actually pay $6.379 billion under Warren’s plan. Cooperman would pay $151 million and Bloomberg would pay $3.079 billion.
“Good news,” Warren’s campaign wrote in the wealth tax calculator. “You’ll still be extraordinarily rich!”