‘Incorrigible’ Trump Should Stop Tweeting, Fairfax’s Watsa SaysBy
Canadian investor urges U.S. president to just be quiet
Watsa remains bullish on U.S. economic growth prospects
Canadian investor Prem Watsa has some advice for U.S. President Donald Trump: “Stop using that Twitter account.”
“The problem with Mr. Trump is he’s incorrigible,” Watsa said Thursday in a speech at the Canadian Club of Toronto. Trump should “just be quiet,” Watsa said when asked what two pieces of advice he would give the U.S. leader.
Watsa, head of Toronto-based investment firm Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., said while he worries about Trump, he admires his policy goals and the people he’s chosen for top roles in the administration, such as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Watsa stands by his bullish stance on the U.S. economy.
“We still haven’t changed our minds that the United States is going to have significant growth,” he said. “But it will be up and down, it won’t be in a straight line.”
Watsa isn’t the only chief executive officer expressing concern about Trump.
“God forbid if Trump gets impeached,” said John Sullivan, CEO of Toronto-based real estate firm Cadillac Fairview, which has a portfolio of properties valued at more than C$28 billion ($20.5 billion) “The political uncertainty that results from that wouldn’t be a good thing.”
The whirl of controversy and allegations surrounding Trump after he abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey last week has moved the national discussion “in impeachment territory” for the first time, David Gergen, a former White House aide to both Democrats and Republicans, including former President Richard Nixon, told CNN.
U.S. stocks rebounded on Thursday after the worst selloff of the year amid concern that the agenda of the Trump administration is imperiled.
Not everyone is overly concerned.
Mark Wilson, CEO of London-based insurer Aviva Plc, told Bloomberg Television he views the Trump turmoil as a “speed bump” for the market.
The Trump saga is “like reality TV playing out in politics, and reality TV tends to have a short-term nature,” he said. “I think investors would take this in their stride.”
Mark Machin, CEO of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the country’s largest pension fund, also said he’s not vexed about the Trump drama playing out in the U.S.
“It’s not high on my list of worries,” Machin said in an interview. “I take comfort from the fact that there are a lot of savvy and capable people in that administration with a very good understanding of economics and markets.”
Watsa said on Thursday that if Trump is able to fulfill his promises to slash the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, roll back burdensome regulations on business and unleash spending on infrastructure projects, then “we could be in for a long period of growth.”
“When the U.S. does well the rest of the world does well; we certainly do well in Canada,” said Watsa, who models himself after value investor Warren Buffett, and whose holdings include BlackBerry Ltd. and publisher Torstar Corp.
Watsa in March warned that U.S. protectionism under Trump could bring “worldwide retaliation leading to a collapse in world trade.”
Fairfax shares have declined 8 percent this year, trailing the S&P/TSX Composite Index, which is little changed.
— With assistance by Scott Deveau