Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A nationally elected loudmouth from the Northeast doesn’t think before opining on Twitter and is suddenly found in an embarrassing back-and-forth with a smart person and public figure who was totally misrepresented by the original tweet. But the politician remains stubborn and even hostile about the mistake, stands by the tweet, and moves merrily along with adulation from the base unchanged and unwavering.
Most would guess “Mr. Trump, on the Twitter, with the tweet” for this offense. But this time it was “Sen. Warren, on the Facebook, with the post” who murdered irony by unknowingly attacking one of her own donors and vocal supporters for being a fat-cat billionaire who opposes all regulation of Wall Street and only wants to personally benefit from President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to Make America Great Again by squeezing the little guy.
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.’
If by “Whitney Tilsons of the world” she means hedge-fund managers who throw money at Warren’s campaigns and supported the formation of her signature bureaucracy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, sure. But that’s not what she meant.
It seems, as reported by Andrew Ross Sorkin in the New York Times, Warren may have been tripped up by this Tilson quote in a Bloomberg News piece on Trump’s transition:
‘I can take glee in that — I think Donald Trump conned them,’ said Tilson, who runs Kase Capital Management. ‘I worried that he was going to do crazy things that would blow the system up. So the fact that he’s appointing people from within the system is a good thing.’
This misunderstanding would perhaps be understandable — a Wall Street insider seeming to relish appointments of Wall Streer insiders, despite his clear anti-Trump sentiment — if Tilson weren’t also Warren’s donor and supporter.
Tilson gave $2,500 to Warren in 2012, and they have a personal connection. Tilson’s wife, Susan, was a law student of Warren’s in the ’90s and has remained a supporter. A Google search of Tilson would have quickly revealed him hanging at fundraisers and hiking mountains in a T-shirt adorned with the Donald Trump “NOPE” version of the Obama “HOPE” one, which would have been a decent indicator of his politics if his five-figure donations to the DNC weren’t.
Both Tilsons wrote to Warren to request a correction or retraction.
An aide emailed them: ‘She asked me to relay to you that she is removing the word ‘billionaire’ from the post, as you have indicated that is factually inaccurate. The senator has decided, however, not to remove the overall post.’
A spokesman for Ms. Warren declined to comment on the exchange.
Tilson is understandably disappointed by the response, as he feels like he’s “stuck out his neck” to support her in the past.
As some have noted, one of Trump’s talents seems to be the ability to drive his liberal opponents to fits of the same behavior they’ve been condemning in Trump.
“By engaging in factually incorrect, ad hominem attacks, she’s getting down into the gutter with Trump. This is misguided and counterproductive,” Tilson told the New York Times.
In true Trumpian style, Warren also got a basic fact wrong. Tilson is a millionaire, not a billionaire. Maybe they’ve got more in common than Warren thinks.