Ohh Pocahontas, you blithering moron! https://t.co/HeXKyN6LsR
— Russ (@rbaron721) December 13, 2016
Sen. Elizabeth Warren took to Facebook on December 1 to attack “billionaire” hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson over his alleged support of Donald Trump. The only problems with her argument are that Tilson isn’t a billionaire, he spoke out against Trump during the entire election, he was a supporter of Hillary Clinton and — get this — was a donor and huge fan of Elizabeth Warren herself!
From yesterday’s NY Times “DealBook” blog:
My Column: Elizabeth Warren's "knee-jerk, fact-free reaction to something she had read in the news." https://t.co/539oAFQDzf
— Andrew Ross Sorkin (@andrewrsorkin) December 13, 2016
Here’s the opener:
Senator Elizabeth Warren, furious about President-elect Donald J. Trump’s appointments of finance industry insiders, took to Facebook a little over a week ago to fire off a message to her nearly 2.5 million followers.
She took aim at an individual she described as a “hedge fund billionaire” who is “thrilled by Donald Trump’s economic team of Wall Street insiders.”
The hedge fund manager she condemned was Whitney Tilson, who runs Kase Capital. Ms. Warren — the fiery Massachusetts Democrat who is known for her stern mistrust of Wall Street — called him out by saying, “Tilson knows that, despite all the stunts and rhetoric, Donald Trump isn’t going to change the economic system.” Then she added, “The next four years are going to be a bonanza for the Whitney Tilsons of the world.”
There’s one rather glaring problem with Ms. Warren’s attack: Mr. Tilson happens to be one of the few financial executives who publicly fought Mr. Trump’s election and supported Hillary Clinton. A lifelong Democrat who was involved in helping to start Teach for America, Mr. Tilson also happened to be one of the rare Wall Street executives who had donated to Ms. Warren and actively sought new regulations for the industry. Recently, he gave Mrs. Clinton $1,000 so he could see Ms. Warren speak at a campaign fund-raiser. (He’s also far, far from a billionaire.)
Tilson told his investors in an email that his wife, Susan, even asked Sen. Warren in a follow-up letter to correct the post, but she has yet to do so.
4) Here’s the letter Susan sent her on Dec. 3rd: (I didn’t ask her to write it nor did I edit a word of it; it’s nice to know that, after 26 years together, my wife still loves me and will fight for me!):
Dear Senator Warren,
I have been one of your biggest fans ever since I was a student in your first Harvard Law School bankruptcy class in the fall of 1992. You deftly energized the entire classroom about a subject that many would find boring, and I marveled at your ability to break down complicated concepts into language that was easy to understand. I have followed your career with pride, cheering from the sidelines as you rose to national attention for your excellent work on behalf of consumers. I read and loved your book, and my husband and I supported your senatorial campaign. We are not Massachusetts residents and could not vote for you ourselves, but we did our best to encourage friends and family who could vote for you to do so. More recently, we donated $1,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign just so we could hear you speak at a Women Lawyer’s for Hillary event at Skadden, Arps’s offices in September. We believe that you are a profoundly intelligent and empathic person who is passionate about making our country better for all Americans.
It is for all these reasons that I cannot shake the deep sense of disappointment that I have been feeling since I read your Facebook post on Thursday, December 1, in which you made highly critical and unfair statements about my husband, Whitney Tilson, without doing any fact-checking whatsoever. First, you called him a “billionaire hedge fund manager,” which, I can assure you, is laughably far from the truth. Second, you clearly know nothing about him if you could ever characterize him as being “thrilled” about anything that Donald Trump is doing. In the months leading up to Trump’s election, Whitney did little else but use his bully pulpit (through Facebook and vast e-mail lists that he typically uses to share information about investing and education reform, which is his passion) to keep Trump from the Oval Office. The two of us, inspired by your talk at Skadden, even spent a day with friends in Bethlehem, PA, going door to door to register voters for the Clinton campaign. We believe that Donald Trump personifies greed, corruption, and ignorance, and we are deeply dismayed by the reality of his election to the presidency. We have three daughters on the cusp of adulthood, and this is not the world we imagined for them.
That said, the quote you took from the Bloomberg piece as the basis for your rant was meant to be less of a statement in support of Trump’s financial picks than one of relief that they weren’t worse. Furthermore, if you had read to the end of the article, right before you are quoted, you would have seen the following:
Tilson, who was relieved Trump picked an industry veteran instead of a wildcard, still has concerns, especially because Trump promised to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act, enacted after the financial crisis almost toppled the global economy.
“I’m a fan of Dodd-Frank, I think banking should be boring,” said Tilson, who voted for Hillary Clinton. “I worry about Wall Street returning to being a casino.”
Perhaps if you had read all the way through, you would have understood that there was nuance to his statement.
When you post on Facebook, people pay attention. As of Saturday morning at 11 a.m., your unfair and inaccurate post about my husband had over 14,000 likes, 5,922 shares, and 1,155 comments. You owe it to all of us to pick your fights with those who deserve it, and we all know that there are many who deserve it right now.
At a time when the person who is about to be the leader of the free world tells lies almost as frequently as he breathes, the rest of us have to continue to pursue truth and fact. I know you believe that, and that is why I felt I had to write to you to express how saddened I was by your ill-informed post. I expected more from you.
I would encourage you to delete that Facebook post and to get to know my husband for who he is—a man who has railed against the carried interest loophole for years despite it being against his self-interest, a man who co-founded Democrats for Education Reform to try to improve the educational system for all American children, a man who serves on multiple non-profit boards and climbs mountains (literally) to raise money for the causes he believes in, a man who stood directly behind President Obama in support of the Buffett Rule back in 2012. I think you would like him.
Susan Blackman Tilson (HLS ’93)
And here’s Sen. Warren’s Facebook post:
Why can’t she just admit that she was wrong?