The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman defended President Donald Trump’s reaction to the election during a meeting with top CEOs on November 6, according to the Financial Times.
The meeting was held with more than 24 CEOs of Fortune 500 firms to discuss what to do if Trump refused to leave the White House, the Associated Press reported. They reportedly discussed the possibility of taking collective action if Trump’s refusal to concede to President-elect Joe Biden posed a threat to American democracy.
Schwarzman, a Republican and supporter of the president, defended Trump, challenging the suggestion by others in the meeting that there was a possibility of a coup, the Times reported.
The billionaire reportedly said the president had a right to pursue legal battles and to let them play out in the courts. He also repeated at least one of the president’s unsubstantiated voter fraud claims, referring to reports that some of the ballots received may have been fake, the Times reported.
Schwarzman reportedly expressed skepticism over the Pennsylvania results, noting they first favored Trump but tilted in Biden’s favor as time went on and absentee ballots were counted, a scenario that was widely anticipated by election and voting experts.
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Sources on the call told the Times that Brian Roberts, the Comcast CEO, pointed out that Republican lawmakers limited the ability of election officials to start counting mail-in votes prior to election day. He also said that many of the votes coming in later were from Philadelphia, a city that leans Democratic.
“As an American, Steve believes the electoral system is sound and that the democratic process will play out in an orderly and legal manner, as it has throughout our nation’s history,” Blackstone told the Times.
Insider called the election for Biden the same day the meeting took place. Trump has since declined to concede, pursuing recounts, mounting legal challenges, and pushing unproven claims of widespread voter fraud — claims his own agency officials have denied.
Schwarzman, a friend and ally of the president, was Wall Street’s largest campaign donor in 2020, according to a Reuters analysis. He donated more than $27 million to American politicians, including Trump.
He also supported Trump’s campaign in 2016, and went on to chair an advisory council to the president that consisted of business leaders. He remains an unofficial adviser to Trump.
Reuters reported Schwarzman donated $3 million to America First Action, a political action committee that supports Trump, though most of his donations in 2020 were directed towards Republicans in down ballot races through the Senate Leadership Fund and the Congressional Leadership Fund.