Politics

Lloyd Blankfein on battling Elizabeth Warren: 'I would just bury the hatchet'

Key Points
  • Goldman Sachs senior chairman Lloyd Blankfein on Tuesday appeared to double down on his use of racially loaded language in remarks about Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.
  • Blankfein, 65, drew attention last week when he made an apparent swipe at Warren's past claims of Native American ancestry, that "maybe tribalism is just in her DNA" in a tweet criticizing her most recent campaign ad.
  • Later in the interview, when asked about the tone of the apparent battle of "Warren versus Wall Street, Blankfein seemed to take things further, saying, "If I could, I would just bury the hatchet and move on."
VIDEO5:5305:53
Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein responds to Warren's wealth tax ad

Goldman Sachs senior chairman Lloyd Blankfein on Tuesday seemed to double down on his use of racially loaded language targeting Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who has claimed to have Native American ancestry.

"If I could, I would just bury the hatchet and move on," Blankfein said during an interview on CNBC's "Halftime Report."

Blankfein, 65, last week on Twitter said of Warren that "maybe tribalism is just in her DNA," referring to the Massachusetts senator's new presidential campaign ad promoting her proposed wealth tax.

Asked by CNBC's Scott Wapner on Tuesday if that tweet was a dig at her claims of Native American heritage, Blankfein did not deny that it was.

"It's like looking at a piece of impressionist art. You ask, 'What was the artist thinking?' It's really for you to take away," Blankfein said with a smirk.

Pressed about the meaning of the tweet, Blankfein said, "The message stands."

Later in the interview, when asked about the tone of the apparent battle of "Warren versus Wall Street," Blankfein seemed to take things further. He defended one of Warren's biggest critics, billionaire hedge-fund manager Leon Cooperman, and said that his spat with Warren is "not bothering me."

"Given my choice, I'd just -- If I could, I would just bury the hatchet and move on," Blankfein added.

Warren, who gained fame for her efforts to regulate big banks in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, has taken aim at billionaires throughout her campaign to unseat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

She has proposed a progressive wealth tax on net worth starting at $50 million, and has mocked the complaints from her wealthy detractors who say her plan would harm the economy.

Blankfein appears in a Warren campaign ad alongside other billionaires such as TD Ameritrade Founder Joe Ricketts and PayPal Co-founder Peter Thiel.

A text overlay reading "EARNED $70 MILLION DURING THE FINANCIAL CRASH" flashes across Blankfein's face in the ad.

Blankfein's net worth is listed as $1.3 billion in Warren's ad.

One of Warren's biggest critics, billionaire hedge-fund manager Leon Cooperman, wrote her a lengthy public letter and has made at-times emotional appearances in television interviews decrying her policies and rhetoric. Warren responded by selling a "billionaire tears" coffee mug on her campaign website.

Blankfein, in his interview Tuesday, accused Warren and other like-minded politicians of moving from populism to "a kind of demagoguery."

"I used to be kind of a moderate Democrat and now, without having moved anything, I've become like a – in their eyes, kind of a right-winger because I don't want to blow up the financial system," Blankfein said.

He was also referring to Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist and presidential candidate.

"It's an odd time where we're shifting a bit from populism, where you want to represent underrepresented people that feel they didn't have a voice and you want to appeal to them, to a kind of demagoguery [where] you're labeling people as villains who may not have a role in the problem just to vilify them and improve your own prospects," Blankfein said.

VIDEO3:0003:00
Leon Cooperman gets emotional talking about current political climate

-- CNBC's Dan Mangan contributed to this report.