Hedge fund billionaire and convicted currency manipulator George Soros has expressed hope that the ‘nationalist’, anti-globalist backlash expressed in the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump may be running out of steam, and that Trump himself may be defeated in 2020.
“Trump is still doing a tremendous amount of damage,” Soros said, speaking to the New York Times in an interview published Friday. “I mean, just the last week what he has done in the Middle East has been devastating for America’s influence in the world,” he added, in reference to the White House’s recent move to partially withdraw US troops from Syria.
Calling Trump “an aberration...putting his personal interests ahead of the national interests,” Soros suggested that “things will turn around” during the next election cycle.
The billionaire spoke positively of Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, whom he said “has emerged as the clear-cut person to beat.”
“I don’t take a public stance, but I do believe that she is the most qualified to be president,” Soros explained, but stopped short of endorsing her, saying he would not endorse one candidate because he preferred working with everyone.
‘Proud' Over Enemies
At the same time, 89-year-old expressed pride in having amassed so many enemies. “I’m very proud of the enemies I have. It’s a perfect way to tell a dictator or would-be dictator if he identifies me as an enemy,” he said.
Soros also sheepishly brushed off the role of the billions of dollars in his Foundations in determining the results of the upcoming US election. “There are more Main Streets in America than there are Wall Streets. So I don’t think that Wall Street, other than being a source of money, will have its way in choosing the president,” he said.
This week, filings revealed that the Open Society Policy Centre, the lobbying arm of the Open Society Foundations, showed that the Centre spent over $24 million in lobbying so far in 2019, and spent more money on lobbying since Trump’s election than it did during 16 year prior during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Three Decades of Activity
Soros has been engaged in political action for at least three decades, offering material support for the anti-communist movements spreading in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s in countries like Poland and Hungary, and providing funding for political, economic and institutional reforms across Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union starting in the early 1990s. His activities have since spread to over 60 countries around the world, and he became seen as a keen proponent of the post-Cold War liberal world order, not just in the third world, but in the US and Europe as well.
In 2002, Soros was convicted of insider trading by a French court, and fined €2.2 million, with his conviction upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011. In the financial world, he is perhaps best known for his currency speculation against the British pound in 1992, which made him his first billion, and led to billions in losses to the British economy.
Russia ran out of patience with Soros and his Open Societies Foundations in 2015, when the OSF was added to a list of organisations whose activities were deemed to pose a threat to Russia’s national security. Prior to the ban, the OSF had operated in Russia for over two decades, spending over $100 million on education, media, and various NGOs. Authorities and politicians in other countries, ranging from in Hungary and Poland to Israel, Equatorial Guinea, Montenegro and Macedonia have also accused Soros and the OSF of meddling in their nations’ affairs.