Blankfein Says He Tweets to Protect Goldman Sachs's Standing

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Lloyd Blankfein

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Lloyd Blankfein, who launched his Twitter account this month by criticizing one of President Donald Trump’s decisions, said he learned in the financial crisis to speak out when the bank or its employees may be threatened.

In an interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Monday, Blankfein said there are limited reasons for him to weigh in publicly on current events. “Either it’s something in our wheelhouse of expertise,” such as warning U.S. policy makers against defaulting on the nation’s debt, the Goldman chief executive officer said. Or, it’s “when things really affect the ability of our people to be who they are and do their job.”

Blankfein unexpectedly appeared on Twitter in early June, joining U.S. corporate leaders in responding to Trump’s decision to ditch the Paris climate accord. The longtime banker labeled the move a “setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership position in the world.” Trump has said leaving the accord would save money and jobs.

In recent years, Blankfein has occasionally issued statements or spoken publicly on a range of issues, such as supporting same-sex marriage, an issue that affects his employees. But since joining the micro-blogging website, he’s been more prolific, urging the U.S. to keep up with China on infrastructure spending and congratulating Jeff Immelt on his tenure atop General Electric Co.

Read more: Blankfein tweets, Iger quits Trump council in climate fury

Blankfein said he decided to become more vocal after the financial crisis, when he felt people misunderstood Goldman Sachs, “the value that we create, what we do in the communities, what we do for people who need capital.”

“I said if this ever happens again, I’m not going to allow there to be a vacuum,” he said in the interview.

(Updates with background on Trump’s decision in third paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the phrasing of a quote.)
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