U.S. executives in Davos see a Trump victory in 2024, and no cause for concern

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he takes the stage at his caucus night time watch celebration in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., January 15, 2024. 

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

DAVOS, Switzerland — Global enterprise leaders could also be in the snowy hills of Switzerland, however their conversations preserve returning to Washington, D.C.

The subject of Donald Trump has dominated dinners and events at Davos, with many in attendance on the World Economic Forum mulling the previous president’s potential return to the White House after his resounding Iowa caucus victory.

Several enterprise executives have famous a theme to their non-public discussions in the course of the summit: U.S. business leaders appear overwhelmingly nonplussed with a second Trump time period, whereas overseas chief executives are terrified — notably of restrictions on immigration and potential world conflicts.

One outstanding U.S. enterprise govt, who requested to not be named as a result of his discussions with overseas leaders had been non-public, mentioned a number of the concern could also be on account of a lack of information of the checks and balances constructed into the U.S. authorities.

“I’m unsure Europeans perceive how weak govt orders are,” that individual mentioned. “We have a justice system. Congress will in all probability be divided. It’s proper to be cautious, however it will not be the top of the world.”

Another U.S. financial institution CEO privately expressed annoyance with media exaggeration of the specter of a Trump presidency, stressing he is “all bark and no chunk.” The financial institution chief additionally dismissed Trump’s refusal to simply accept the outcomes of the 2020 election as bloviation.

“He’s going to win the presidency,” the CEO predicted. “Many of his insurance policies had been proper.”

2024 predictions

Jamie Dimon, President & CEO,Chairman & CEO JPMorgan Chase, talking on CNBC’s Squawk Box on the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. seventeenth, 2024.

Adam Galici | CNBC

While JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon would not predict a Trump victory, he echoed his fellow financial institution CEO’s feedback in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday.

“Just take a step again, and be sincere. He was type of proper about NATO. He was type of proper about immigration, he grew the economic system fairly nicely. Trade. Tax reform labored. He was proper about a few of China,” mentioned Dimon. “I do not like how he mentioned issues about Mexico, however he wasn’t improper about a few of these important points. And that is why they’re voting for him.”

Still, whereas Dimon additionally echoed the sentiment that an apocalypse is unlikely, he did be aware he hopes “the nation survives” with both the reelection of Biden or the return of Trump to the White House, whilst some fear American democracy would be threatened by his return.

“I can be ready for each, we’ll take care of each, my firm will survive and thrive in each,” Dimon mentioned.

One companion at a massive world non-public fairness agency mentioned privately he is been stunned by the dearth of concern amongst U.S. executives given Trump’s refusal to simply accept his election defeat in 2020 and the following U.S. Capitol riot of January 6, 2021.

Another former Trump administration official mentioned there’s extra motive for concern this time round as a result of most of the those that saved Trump’s damaging urges in examine will not be working with him if he returns to workplace.

Steve Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO & Co-Founder Blackstone Group, talking on CNBC’s Squawk Box on the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. seventeenth, 2024.

Adam Galici | CNBC

Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman expressed one other widespread theme amongst executives — that each Trump and U.S. President Joe Biden are flawed selections.

“I feel we’ve got an attention-grabbing presidential election now, the place there are very excessive negatives, as you realize, for each candidates,” Schwarzman mentioned, including he is ready to see how issues play out. “I’m not into the hypothetical world but as a lot as you want me to be. And we’ll see what occurs. There are all the time surprises in these elections.”

Ben Smith, cofounder of enterprise information outlet Semafor, instructed CNBC Thursday he is heard from many at Davos that Trump is more likely to win — however given the poor observe report of Davos predictions in years previous, which will really be an indicator for Biden.

Smith and a number of different Davos attendees famous that predictions made on the World Economic Forum have traditionally turned out false, together with previous feedback about recession outlooks and the probability of Trump successful the presidency in 2016.

“This yr it’s an absolute merchandise of religion that Donald Trump can be elected President of the United States, which I feel is nice information for Joe Biden,” Smith mentioned in an interview with “Squawk Box.”

Cross nation

Marc Benioff, co-founder, chairman and CEO Salesforce, talking with CNBC’s Sara Eisen on the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. seventeenth, 2024.

Adam Galici | CNBC

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, who additionally spoke with Stone, expressed comparable sentiments.

“I feel elections are, you realize, big offers. I imagine that America is gonna be high quality,” Altman mentioned. “No matter what occurs in this election.”

Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman mentioned it is just too early to concentrate on what Trump could or could not imply for the nation this time round.

“Honestly, I feel they should see how the primaries shake out,” Friedman mentioned.

WATCH: Jamie Dimon’s full interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box

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