Hedge Fund Supremo Curbs Enthusiasm for Trump

Bridgewater CEO Ray Dalio (left) with LinkedIn Executive Editor Daniel Roth

The founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund firm could be hedging his bets on Donald Trump.

Ray Dalio, who recently stepped down as Bridgewater Associates CEO to perform a senior investment function at the company, said he has grown concerned about the president’s tendency to bash heads.

“When faced with the choices between what’s good for the whole and what’s good for the part, and between harmony and conflict, he has a strong tendency to choose the part and conflict,” Dalio wrote in a LinkedIn post. “The more I see Donald Trump moving toward conflict rather than cooperation, the more I worry about him harming his presidency and its effects on most of us.”

The criticism came after Trump’s controversial decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Accord on climate change. Dalio, of course, isn’t the only corporate figurehead to slam the move, but he appears to be one of few high-profile business leaders who have turned from Trump bull to Trump bear.

“The more I see Donald Trump moving toward conflict rather than cooperation, the more I worry about him harming his presidency and its effects on most of us.”

The transformation is an indication that the business world could be getting a little edgy as Trump continues to court controversy and faces mounting distractions from probes into his relationship with Russia. In his latest scrap, the president criticized London’s mayor Sadiq Khan’s response to the latest tragic UK terrorist attack in a disrespectful manner that drew scorn from many British lawmakers.

Dalio said that, personally, he tries to “optimize for the whole” through cooperation to make the pie bigger, then divide up the pie. “I believe that we are connected to our ecology, our whole community, and our whole United States, such that it pays to be in symbiotic relationships with them—so, I’m concerned about [Trump’s] path,” he wrote.

Dalio hadn’t exactly been a welded-on Trump supporter, but he did say in November that his election was “broadly positive” and was expected to stimulate economic growth. “This new administration hates weak, unproductive, socialist people and policies, and it admires strong, can-do, profit makers,” Dalio said in a separate LinkedIn post in December.

His view of Trump started to sour in January, when the president announced his first attempted Muslim travel ban—a move Dalio said could undermine the benefits of the president’s pro-growth agenda.

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Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.

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