"Omega Advisors" CEO Leon Cooperman got emotional and appeared to shed a tear or two during a CNBC interview on Monday during a discussion about the current state of the country, lamenting that President Trump is dividing and polarizing Americans while his potential Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren is peddling "idiocy."
"We need a unifier in that position because the country is being torn apart," he said. "Let him make his own decision, I am not in favor of this impeachment, I want the American people to decide in 2020 what the future of the country should be."
"I care," he said, voice wavering. "That's it."
"If he was not prepared to change his dialogue and his treatment of people, he could have accomplished what he accomplished by being presidential... He has to become a president for the entire country and not just his base. So if I was him, if I’m not prepared to change my behavior, I would take a victory lap and not run again," Cooperman said of Trump.
Cooperman called Warren's wealth tax proposal a "bankrupt concept" and said it could "lead to inappropriate actions in the economy that are counterproductive."
"I feel she's taking the country down a very wrong path," Cooperman said. "What's she peddling is bull. Total, complete bull. That comes from someone who believes in a progressive income tax structure, who believes the rich should pay more. I have no problem with that."
The larger context of the moment is that Cooperman was discussing his war of words with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren over wealth taxes.
"I don’t need Elizabeth Warren or the government giving away my money. Just tell me what you think the maximum tax rate should be. Stop talking about a 2% [wealth tax] where you're basically just misrepresenting the facts... Just think, if Jeff Bezos' wealth is tied up in Amazon stock, he's going to be forced every year to sell 2% of his stock regardless of the outlook of the company. That is just wrong."
"She and Bernie Sanders are promising things to people that are not achievable," he said. "The idea of vilifying wealthy people is so bogus. They're appealing to the masses."
"I don’t need Elizabeth Warren telling me that I’m a deadbeat and that billionaires are deadbeats. The vilification of billionaires makes no sense to me. The world is a substantially better place because of Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, David Rubenstein, Bernie Marcus, Ken Langone," Cooperman said. "This is idiocy! It’s appealing to the lowest common denominator and basically trying to turn people’s heads around by promising a lot of free stuff."
Sen. Warren responded on Twitter, accusing him of caring more about his stake in federal student loan provider Navient than the American people:
I care about an entire generation of students being crushed by student loan debt—deferring their American dream because they can't afford it. I care about making sure every American has the opportunity to succeed. I'm not afraid to stand up to the wealthy and well-connected.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 5, 2019