A small cadre of hedge funders have spent the last 24 hours lapping up publicity, alongside stock gains, following the election of Donald Trump. Carl Icahn, who boarded the Trump train in September 2015, gloated on Bloomberg about leaving Trump’s victory party to casually plunk $1 billion into equities the night of the election. Asked by the Post whether he would accept an administration position, inveterate Trump cheerleader Anthony Scaramucci demurred, saying it would be as hard as leaving his local bodega.
Notably absent from this cavalcade of happy hedgies was the money manager who should claim perhaps the most credit for Trump’s rise among the lot: Bob Mercer. As our own Jon Shazar wrote all the way back in August, you have Mercer and his firm Renaissance Technologies to blame for President Trump.
Unlike the Scaramuccis and Icahns of the world, Mercer isn’t exactly a member of the Squawk Box set. An “intensely private” man and an “icy cold” poker player, Mercer prefers to let his ample money do his speaking for him – for instance, supporting research into how human urine can “improve our health, our happiness and prosperity, and even the academic performance of our children in school.” Early in the campaign, Mercer put a solid eight figures to work behind Ted Cruz. When Cruz fizzled, Mercer hitched his wagon to Trump.
But Mercer’s ties to Trump go beyond Super PAC donations. In 2011, the conservative billionaire provided a $10 million lifeline to a floundering Breitbart News. The site has since exploded from its niche on the paranoid right to mainstream prominence; in August, Breitbart CEO and Trump Svengali Steve Bannon took over managing the Donald’s campaign. Bannon is reportedly “tied at the hip” to Mercer daughter and cookie entrepreneur Rebekah Mercer, who has emerged as the family’s political power player.
As a source close to Trump told the Hill: “The Mercers basically own this campaign.”
Now their big bet has paid off. But don’t expect Mercer to hop on the phone with CNBC to mull cabinet positions. So let us take this opportunity to give the Renaissance man his due: Thanks for Trump, Bob.