Delivering Alpha

Billionaire Schwarzman on Trump-CEO council controversy: I was accused of being 'a Nazi'

Key Points
  • Schwarzman says he and other CEOs were under "astonishing pressure" as advisors to President Trump.
  • The business forum Schwarzman led that advised Trump disbanded following comments by the president that appeared supportive of white supremacists.
Billionaire Schwarzman on Trump CEO counsel controversy: I was accused of being 'a Nazi'
Billionaire Schwarzman on Trump CEO counsel controversy: I was accused of being 'a Nazi'

Blackstone co-founder Steve Schwarzman said Tuesday he was accused of being a Nazi in emails he received following President Donald Trump's comments that appeared to support white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Schwarzman, who is Jewish, described the time as one of "astonishing pressure" on a group of corporate CEOs like himself who had been part of a White House policy forum advising the president.

"You should have seen some of the emails I got," Schwarzman said at the Delivering Alpha conference in New York. "I was accused of being a Nazi."

The conference is presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor.

Two corporate advisory councils disbanded after CEOs came under pressure following Trump's comments that blamed "both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville. Schwarzman, who led the policy council, said he knew his fellow business chiefs were hearing from shareholders and employees voicing displeasure about Trump's remarks and he spoke to forum members for a minute each to hear their concerns.

"We had an orderly process," Schwarzman said.

He would not directly comment on reports that Trump pre-empted the forum's announcement that it was disbanding by tweeting that he was dissolving the group. "This is the political world," he said. "I don't control it."

Schwarzman also would not say how recently he has spoken to the president, though he did say he continues to be in contact. He said he has counseled past presidents as well, including Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. "People who have backgrounds that are relevant should help" the president and the country, he said. "You have an obligation."