Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein explained why he started antagonizing Trump on Twitter

Lloyd Blankfein

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The New York Times

Goldman Sachs Group chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein started tweeting this month, and it’s fair to say he jumped right in. 

In his first tweet, the Wall Street CEO, using the handle @lloydblankfein, lamented President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement.

In his third tweet, coming the day after Trump kicked off his “infrastructure week,” he raved about the impressive infrastructure in one of the US’s rival superpowers — China. 

His fourth sarcastically asked how “infrastructure week” had gone, after former FBI Director James Comey delivered a Senate testimony that overshadowed any of Trump’s legislative proposals that week.

In an interview on CNBC’s “Mad Money with Jim Cramer,” Blankfein was asked why he started tweeting. He said:

  • “In the financial crisis there was no – nobody knew anything about what Goldman Sachs did.”
  • “And I said, ‘If this ever happens again, I’m not going to allow there to be a vacuum about what we’re like. I’m going to go – we’re going to have to communicate to the world more of what we do.’ Which we’ve done institutionally, but also, there’s a personal element to it too.”
  • “And the reason why I do it, it has to fall in my mind, in one of a couple of categories. Either it’s something that is kind of in our wheelhouse of expertise, like for – so I comment that it would be very, very bad to let US government default.”
  • “Before Twitter, I did those things by press release. The other thing I’ll comment on is when things really affect the ability of our people to be who they are and to do their job and to be effective as professionals. And that’s got the LGBT, the immigrant ban, so that people couldn’t move around with their spouses when they have had a passport for another country. So I commented on those issues because, really, I kind of have to be the champion of our people. And I owe it, I kind of owe it to the body politic to comment where I have expertise. They could take my advice or not. I don’t make decisions. But I do give them our expertise.”

Here’s the full transcript:

JIM CRAMER: We’re back with Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. Lloyd, you’re tweeting. What is that all about?

LLOYD BLANKFEIN: You know, I agree. It’s not – for an institutional kind of firm like us, it’s not that usual. But I tell you, part of it – you asked me about the financial crisis before. In the financial crisis there was no – nobody knew anything about what Goldman Sachs did.

JIM CRAMER: No.

LLOYD BLANKFEIN: What, you know, the value we create, what we do in the communities. Also, the importance we do in raising capital for people who need capital, helping them create business, hire people, the virtuous circle of employed people buying more – you know, it’s quite virtuous as we know it. And I said, “If this ever happens again, I’m not going to allow there to be a vacuum about what we’re like. I’m going to go – we’re going to have to communicate to the world more of what we do.” Which we’ve done institutionally, but also, there’s a personal element to it too. And although the financial crisis, you know, receded a while ago, we kind of never picked up on it. And I just thought—

JIM CRAMER: Three outta six of these, Lloyd, are, I would say, antagonistic to the president.

LLOYD BLANKFEIN: Well, I’d say they’re comments. Now, I’ve always commented on certain issues. And this is how I think of it: I don’t use that platform for Lloyd Blankfein’s personal point of view, because I know I’m interesting to people because my role at Goldman. Now, my role at Goldman, so I – to communicate, and I’ve done it before by press release you recall – I commented on immigration, I commented on LGBT issues. I commented, obviously on the environment more recently. Spending on infrastructure. And the reason why I do it, it has to fall in my mind, in one of a couple of categories. Either it’s something that is kind of in our wheelhouse of expertise, like for – so I comment that it would be very, very bad to let U.S. government default.

JIM CRAMER: Right.

LLOYD BLANKFEIN: That’s in our wheelhouse. Before Twitter, I did those things by press release. The other thing I’ll comment on is when things really affect the ability of our people to be who they are and to do their job and to be effective as professionals. And that’s got the LGBT, the immigrant ban, so that people couldn’t move around with their spouses when they have had a passport for another country. So I commented on those issues because, really, I kind of have to be the champion of our people. And I owe it, I kind of owe it to the body politic to comment where I have expertise. They could take my advice or not. I don’t make decisions. But I do give them our expertise.

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