“I think I could beat Trump,” Dimon said Wednesday during an event held at his bank’s Park Avenue headquarters. “Because I’m as tough as he is, I’m smarter than he is. I would be fine. He could punch me all he wants, it wouldn’t work with me. I’d fight right back.”
Shortly after, Dimon set out to clarify his comments. “I should not have said it. I’m not running for President,” the CEO said in a statement about an hour after the original comments.
Dimon, 62, has been outspoken about what the U.S. needs to do to improve economic growth for a broader set of participants. He’s also pushed for common-sense reform on topics from immigration policy to infrastructure spending. So he’s often asked whether he would run for president. In the past, he has said that while he would like running the country, he could never win an election. But the victory of Donald Trump in 2016 — another billionaire New York businessman — raised the possibility that Dimon might change his mind.
Still, while the questions remain, Dimon maintains that he probably couldn’t win. In Wednesday’s comments, he indicated that its unlikely a rich banker could beat the liberal side of the Democratic Party.
“I can’t beat the liberal side of the Democratic Party,” Dimon said, adding that the Democrats needed to “get their act together” by not attacking businesses.
Dimon was speaking at an event where J.P. Morgan unveiled a new program committing $500 million to boost economic growth in select cities around the world.
Dimon, who was reportedly considered for Treasury Secretary under the nascent Trump administration, has said he’s tried to influence the president as a former member of a now-disbanded advisory group of business leaders. Dimon is also chairman of the Washington D.C.-based Business Roundtable.
Before he was done, Dimon took another swipe at Trump.
“And by the way this wealthy New Yorker actually earned his money,” Dimon added. “It wasn’t a gift from Daddy.”
Here are Dimon’s full comments:
Why not throw your hat in the ring, Jamie? [laughter]
Dimon: I mean I’ve said this before Trump was elected. You’re not going to get a wealthy New Yorker elected president. Boy I was dead wrong. And by the way, this wealthy New Yorker [pointing to himself] actually earned his money. It wasn’t a gift from daddy. And I grew up in a poorer part of Queens than he did, but I am a banker. I am part of the elite. He…I don’t think the American public looks at Trump as part of the elite. They look at him as the upstart who punched the elite in the nose every day. And so I think…I think I could beat Trump. I can’t beat the liberal side of the Democratic party.
Question: You think you can beat Trump?
Dimon: Yeah. I do, yeah. [laughter] Because I’m as tough as he is, I’m smarter than he is. I would be fine. He could punch me all he wants, it wouldn’t work with me. I’d fight right back. But but you have these….the Democratic party….they’ve got to get their act together in terms of understanding how society actually works. Because if they just keep on pounding away at business…I watch these ads on TV with all these people …they’re all running and they’re all going to [wags finger] …business where their place is. Well, ok, right that’s going to really work. That’s going to really succeed……Anyway my wife wouldn’t let me, either. She told me she’d love to be first lady. She did not say that, but I do think it’d be a really interesting White House if she were first lady. It would be a little bit…..you compare yourself remember that show the Nanny with Fran Drescher? [laughter] She says that, not me.