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Steve Schwarzman is very much in the legacy-building phase of his career. And what greater legacy can a man leave than a record of tangible achievement for his country?

Mr. Schwarzman… told people that he felt obligated to help his country if asked…. He viewed his advisory role as a chance to give back, say colleagues and friends. And after decades on Wall Street, he appeared to find it invigorating to have such a close engagement with public policy.

“His sole objective was to help achieve positive policy outcomes for the American people,” Christine Anderson, a Blackstone spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Like, for instance, dismantling their democracy.

On the morning of Nov. 6, 2020, Mr. Schwarzman joined about 25 chief executives, academics and others on a call to discuss the election results. Though votes were still being tallied, Joseph R. Biden Jr. appeared to have won. Mr. Trump was challenging the results.

Timothy Snyder, a Yale professor who had written a book titled “On Tyranny,” likened Mr. Trump’s actions to a coup d’état.

To Mr. Schwarzman, the notion appeared absurd. “This has been a tough time,” he said, according to a participant who shared details from a transcript of the call. Both the media coverage and the polls had misled people, Mr. Schwarzman said, and as a result, “people generally are skeptical about what anyone’s telling them.”

He argued that the vote counts, which were continuing days after the election, had created a perception problem, especially in places where Mr. Trump appeared to have an early win only for a Biden victory to be declared later.

The legacy for Blackstone doesn’t appear to be particularly rewarding, either.

The benefits of Mr. Schwarzman’s alliance with Mr. Trump have proved elusive. Nearly four years after the Saudis committed up to $20 billion in Blackstone’s infrastructure fund, only $7 billion has materialized, thanks to sluggish fund-raising from third parties, whose participation was necessary to unlock the Saudi funds. Progress made on the Chinese trade agreement was overtaken by the pandemic.

Ah, well, supporting an incompetent would-be tin-pot dictator through thick and white supremacist thin was always going to have its ups and downs. Still, how’s this for a legacy?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), private equity’s biggest foe in Washington, will push for a sweeping set of reforms intended to stop what she calls “Wall Street looting.” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who supports Warren's plan and will be chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is vowing to hold hearings and expects legislation aimed at the industry. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) says he will scale back tax benefits as chairman of the Finance Committee that could have a significant impact on the companies’ bottom lines…. "We need reforms to rein in the private equity industry," Warren told POLITICO. "It’s time we empower workers, safeguard the financial system, and protect small businesses by holding predatory companies accountable for abusive practices that line the pockets of the wealthy at the expense of everyone else."

Well, none of that is likely to make Schwarzman any happier than the fact that Warren, Brown and Wyden are in a position to make them happen. Still, he’s a patriot, above all.

Mr. Schwarzman also appears ready to move on. After the storming of the Capitol, he told colleagues that he thought the president should be removed. And he is now “ready,” he has said in recent prepared statements, to help Mr. Biden and his team.

I wouldn’t wait by the phone, Steve, but Sleepy Joe is still likely to let you down a little easier than your erstwhile Dear Leader.

When Stephen A. Schwarzman arrived at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private social club in April 2017, expecting to join a cocktail party to kick off a summit meeting with President Xi Jinping of China, Mr. Trump’s aides turned him away./Mr. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group, the giant private equity firm, had helped arrange Mr. Xi’s visit — and thought he was invited. Mr. Trump told his aides that Mr. Schwarzman wasn’t, according to someone who was there.

In Trump, Stephen Schwarzman Found a Chance to Burnish His Legacy [NYT]
Biden’s Wall Street backers face new threat from Warren [Politico]


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