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Monday, 23 November 2020

Donald Trump's closest Wall Street ally Blackstone billionaire Steve Schwarzman tells president to give up doomed legal fight and says 'country should move on'

 Steve Schwarzman, the billionaire businessman who's been a long time supporter of Donald Trump's, now says the election is over and the president needs to move on in a sign of dwindling support for Trump's doomed legal battle. 

In the immediate aftermath of the election Schwarzman, the CEO of the Blackstone Group, defended the president's right to pursue legal battles and told the business community Trump had the right to pursue all avenues.

But now he's recognizing Joe Biden's victory. 


'I'm a fan of good process,' Schwarzman told Axios. 'In my comments three days after the election, I was trying to be a voice of reason and express why it's in the national interest to have all Americans believe the election is being resolved correctly. But the outcome is very certain today, and the country should move on.'

'I supported President Trump and the strong economic path he built. Like many in the business community, I am ready to help President-elect Biden and his team as they confront the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-COVID economy,' he added.

Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman with President Trump at the White House at a February 2017 meeting with business leaders - he is now telling the president it's time to concede the election and move on

Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman with President Trump at the White House at a February 2017 meeting with business leaders - he is now telling the president it's time to concede the election and move on

Schwarzman was Wall Street's largest campaign donor in 2020, according to a Reuters analysis. He donated more than $27 million to various politicians, including Trump.

He also chaired an advisory council to the president that consisted of business leaders and was an unofficial adviser to the president. 

And he's the latest business leader to recognize Biden as the president-election. 

Schwarzman's admission comes a week after CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Tom Donohue, a longtime confidant of Republican presidents, told Axios that Biden won the White House.

Donohue said in a statement that Trump 'should not delay the transition a moment longer.' 

Several other prominent CEOs - including Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase - also have declared Biden the victor. 

Schwarzman is the latest prominent business leader to recognize Joe Biden as president-elect

Schwarzman is the latest prominent business leader to recognize Joe Biden as president-elect

President Trump - seen at his Washington D.C. area golf course on Sunday - continues to refuse to concede the election

President Trump - seen at his Washington D.C. area golf course on Sunday - continues to refuse to concede the election


And, on Monday, a group of business executives will send a letter to Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, to demand she issue a letter of ascertainment affirming Biden won the election. Until she does so, the Biden transition team does not have access to the federal agencies to begin the transfer of power. 

'Every day that an orderly presidential transition process is delayed, our democracy grows weaker in the eyes of our own citizens and the nation's stature on the global stage is diminished,' the executives write in the letter, a draft of which was reviewed by The New York Times. 'Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk.'

Signers include George H. Walker, the chief executive of the money manager Neuberger Berman and a second cousin to President George W. Bush, and Jon Gray, president of the private-equity firm Blackstone.

The signs of decreasing support for the president comes after Trump's legal team broke up following a huge legal loss in Pennsylvania that will see that state's 20 electoral votes be certified for Biden. The president has not won any major legal battles and his team has not shown any evidence of voter fraud. 

Georgia is in the process of certifying its 16 electoral votes for Biden after a hand recount confirmed his victory, making him the first Democrat to carry the state since 1992.

The president continues to refuse to concede the election. 

Meanwhile, Biden's transition team is preparing to roll out a slate of Cabinet nominees on Tuesday. The president-elect will hold a virtual meeting with the nation's mayors on Monday while Trump has nothing on his public schedule.

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