Nov 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman says Trump lost

Stephen Schwarzman and Trump

Trump with Schwarzman in 2017. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It's over. That's what Blackstone chairman, CEO and co-founder Steve Schwarzman — one of President Trump's most loyal allies — and other top Republicans are signaling to the defeated president, 16 days after Joe Biden clinched the win.

Why it matters: It’s all theatrics now. Even if Trump doesn't move on fast, you can. It is safe to ignore the fearful Republicans who insist the process is legit and plausible, because they tell us privately it is not. 

Driving the news: Schwarzman said in a statement to Axios that Biden won and it's time to move on.

  • "I'm a fan of good process," Schwarzman said. "In my comments three days after the election, I was trying to be a voice of reason and express why it's in the national interest to have all Americans believe the election is being resolved correctly. But the outcome is very certain today, and the country should move on."
  • "I supported President Trump and the strong economic path he built. Like many in the business community, I am ready to help President-elect Biden and his team as they confront the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-COVID economy."

Schwarzman's signal is more meaningful in Trumpworld than any of the messages so far from corporate America.

  • Trump's top aides have undisguised contempt for some establishment business groups. But not Schwarzman. He has been a close confidant of Trump's throughout his presidency.

The legal insanity: For more than 24 hours — until it became too much even for Rudy Giuliani to tolerate — the publicly-stated position of President Trump's legal team was that the reason Trump lost Georgia is because Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has been bribed by a Venezuelan front company in cahoots with the CIA to throw elections to Communists.

  • More than that, in the telling by now-former Trump legal adviser Sidney Powell (ditched in a statement by the campaign last night), these dastardly Communists have manipulated American voting machines to switch millions of votes from Trump to Joe Biden.

Yes, that's correct. You didn't read that wrong. We are not pranking you.

  • This is literally what the Trump legal team is arguing. Watch this Newsmax clip and this press conference appearance from Powell.
  • The dangerous reality is that there is a large audience for this conspiracy theory. Far-right commentators attacked Fox' News' Tucker Carlson for daring to suggest that Powell should provide evidence to support her allegation of what would be the biggest crime in American history.

Longtime Trump ally Chris Christie said on ABC's "This Week": "[T]he conduct of the president's legal team has been a national embarrassment."

  • Senior people in Trumpworld agree. A source familiar with the situation said the Trump legal team had been arguing vociferously with each other on phone calls with the president.
  • And Powell hadn’t shown anybody senior in Trumpworld the evidence to support her grand claims of an international communist conspiracy.

Notice that few key campaign and White House officials have been publicly endorsing this legal strategy.

  • Ask yourself: When is the last time you heard from Jared? Or Ivanka? In private, they have long known it was over.
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