President Trump accused rival Joe Biden of being beholden to Wall Street interests during the Thursday presidential debate.
Trump responded after Biden brought up a New York Times report from Wednesday, alleging that Trump administration officials held private conversations with representatives of big banks in February regarding the novel coronavirus. Those conversations reportedly led investors to sell off stock.
“You’re the one that takes all the money from Wall Street, I don’t take it,” Trump responded. “As president, and as somebody that knows most of those people, I could call the heads of Wall Street, the heads of every company in America—I would blow away every record, but I don’t want to do that, because it puts me in a bad position.”
Trump went on, “And then you bring up Wall Street? You shouldn’t be bringing up Wall Street, because you’re the one who takes money from Wall Street, not me.”
Biden interjected that his “average [campaign] contribution is forty-three dollars.”
Biden has indeed received deep support from Wall Street donors. As of late September, securities and investment industries donated $51.1 million to the Biden campaign, compared to just $10.5 million to Trump, according to data from OpenSecrets. Contributions from Wall Street fueled a massive third-quarter fundraising total for the Biden campaign.
Wall Street industries appear to favor Biden even though the former vice president has called to raise taxes on anyone with an income of over $400,000. Businessmen interviewed by NPR in August said they preferred Biden because he is a known quantity, while Trump’s policy shifts can be unpredictable. Andrew Redleaf, founder of hedge fund Whitebox Advisors, told NPR that he was donating to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project as a libertarian in favor of immigration and free trade.
“I’d like there to be a right-of-center, limited-government party … which is not the Trumpist Republican Party,” Redleaf said.