There was a report in the N.Y. Post this morning that J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon was seen meeting with Mitt Romney.
If this is true, Dimon could be to President Obama what Benedict Arnold was to George Washington: a turncoat.
Obama has long considered Dimon his top ally on Wall Street, and even considered him for the Treasury Secreatry job, before it went to Tim Geithner. Lately, it seems as if President Obama is intent on bashing Wall Street again, and Dimon seems to have had enough of this.
Back in January, he talked about how Washington does not understand Dodd-Frank and the implications it has for the banking industry. He had serious concerns about it then, and still does to this day.
Then in June, he had that tete-a-tete with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke. Bernanke gave a speech to a group of bankers, including Dimon. In the following question and answer session, Dimon asked Bernanke if he believed that new banking regulations would stifle economic recovery. The back and forth got very testy, not something you normally see between a CEO and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Dimon potentially sees the constant regulatory concerns from Washington, and the lack of leadership from the White House as something which needs to be changed, and fast. He even called for U.S. banks to be exempt from Basel III, saying it was “anti-American.” As the Republican race heats up, it appears that Dimon has grown fed up with Obama and his administration, and may be placing his weight behind Mitt Romney.
Dimon is a Democrat, and for him to be supposedly throwing his weight behind Romney speaks volumes, not only about the Democrats, but also about Rick Perry’s viability as a candidate against Obama. At a fund raiser, Dimon was seen “in a discreet one-on-one” discussion with Romney. Nobody knows what they were talking about. Heck, it could have been about the food at the fund raiser or about family vacations, or something trivial.The chances of that being the case though are slim, as Dimon has not attended an Obama fund raiser or donated to his campaign this year. On the contrary, he has met with a lot of the Republican candidates. When Obama labelled Wall Street as “fat cat” bankers in 2009, it clearly hurt Dimon’s feelings. He responded by saying, “I don’t think the President of the United States should paint everyone with the same brush.”
This is nothing new, that Wall Street hates Obama. The feeling was never more evident than at the Delivering Alpha conference, where some said they would spend whatever they could to get Obama out of office. However, it is a major step for Dimon to be seen speaking with Romney in such a public setting.
Dimon may not be committing treason like Benedict Arnold did during the Revolutionary War, but to Obama, this might be the next worst thing.
It definitely speaks volumes when your “favourite banker” is meeting with your competition.
— Jonathan Chen
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