Buffett Watch

Warren Buffett: Here's why I haven't been criticizing Donald Trump

Key Points
  • Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett, who's remained quiet on President Trump, tells CNBC he tries not to mix business and politics.
  • Buffett says he's not in the business of attacking any presidents and he's not going to start with Trump.
Buffett: I'm not in the business of attacking any president

At a time when corporate leaders have been highly critical of President Donald Trump over his response to deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett has remained quiet, telling CNBC on Wednesday he tries not to mix business and politics.

"I'm not in the business of attacking any president, nor do I think I should be," Buffett said in a "Squawk Alley" interview.

Earlier this month, a deluge of CEOs distanced themselves from Trump in the wake of Charlottesville by leaving White House business advisory councils, which were later dissolved.

The tipping point for corporate America seemed to come Aug. 15 when the president angrily doubled down on his original comments about the deadly rally, and again blamed both the white nationalists and the counterprotesters for the mayhem.

Trump's critics felt he put neo-Nazis on the same moral footing as the demonstrators who gathered to denounce their racist views.

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As a supporter of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, Buffett said he was disappointed by the election result. "I worked for Hillary. I raised money for Hillary. I voted for Hillary. I was disappointed when she lost."

But Buffett argued, as he has in the past, that "this country will move forward [under Trump.] It is important that government functions well."

"I won't say if my candidate doesn't win, and probably half the time they haven't, I'm going to take my ball and go home," he said.

Earlier on CNBC, Buffett said he does not think the economy feels like it's growing at 3 percent, a level Trump and his administration have set as a goal for what they view as their business-friendly economic agenda of tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

Buffett, who turned 87 on Wednesday, said he's lived through 15 of the 45 presidents.

"Forty-five presidents of the United States and I lived under a third of them," he said. "I bought stocks under 14 of the 15. The first one was [President Herbert] Hoover. I was only 2 when he left so I hadn't gotten active at that point. But [ Franklin Delano] Roosevelt was next. And I bought stocks under him, even though my dad thought it was the end of the world when he got elected."

Buffett was in New York City on Wednesday for a private lunch with the winner of an annual auction to benefit Glide, a San Francisco-based homeless charity. The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, paid $2,679,001.

WATCH: CNBC's full interview with investing icon Warren Buffett

Watch CNBC's full interview with investing icon Warren Buffett