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Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman Has Repeatedly Supported Donald Trump Despite His Growing Hate Speech, Calls for Violence, and Authoritarianism

On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, Blackstone Group Chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman condemned the mob that stormed the US Capitol to disrupt the certification of election results, though he stopped short of condemning President Donald Trump’s role in inciting the mob to violence:

“The insurrection that followed the president’s remarks today is appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans. I am shocked and horrified by this mob’s attempt to undermine our constitution. As I said in November, the outcome of the election is very clear and there must be a peaceful transition of power.”[i]

Mr. Schwarzman’s statement follows years of enabling Donald Trump’s stoking of hatred and violence.

After Donald Trump was elected in 2016 following a campaign where Trump repeatedly called for violence against immigrants, protestors, and political rivals, Stephen Schwarzman contributed $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration committee.[ii]

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Schwarzman greeted Mr. Trump’s election with enthusiasm, citing a newfound potential for economic growth.”[iii]

In 2017, despite President Trump’s announcement of a “Muslim Ban” on foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from visiting the country, Schwarzman helped select and chair The President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, a council of business leaders that advised the President.[iv]

“In the business world, Mr. Trump most often turns to the founder of Blackstone.”

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, April 2020

Following the August 2017 Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one counter-protestor was killed and nineteen were injured, President Trump drew criticism for responding that he “condemned hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides” and later that there were “very fine people on both sides.”[v]

Stephen Schwarzman defended Trump’s initial response, telling Bloomberg:

“I thought he was talking about the violence on both sides. I don’t think it was a far-reaching statement.”

Stephen Schwarzman response following 2017 Charlottesville white supremacist rally

President Trump’s refusal to unequivocally denounce white supremacists did not stop Schwarzman from making millions of dollars in campaign contributions to the President. Between July 2019 and March 2020, Mr. Schwarzman contributed nearly $6 million to President Trump, PACs backing the President, the Republican National Committee, and Republican National Convention Host Committee, all of which backed Trump’s reelection efforts.

Recipient Committee Name Date Amount
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A. MR. 3/4/20 $35,500
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A. MR. 3/4/20 $106,500
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A. MR. 3/4/20 $106,500
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A. MR. 3/4/20 $106,500
CLT HOST 2020 INC SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A. MR. 2/3/20 $2,000,000
AMERICA FIRST ACTION, INC. SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A 1/31/20 $3,000,000
TRUMP VICTORY SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A MR. 10/1/19 $105,000
DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC. SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A 7/12/19 $100
DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC. SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A 7/12/19 $100
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A. MR. 7/12/19 $106,500
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A. MR. 7/12/19 $106,500
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A. MR. 7/12/19 $35,500
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A. MR. 7/12/19 $1,300
TRUMP VICTORY SCHWARZMAN, STEPHEN A MR. 7/12/19 $250,000
Total $5,960,000

For example, Schwarzman contributed $105,000 to Trump Victory on October 1, 2019, a week after the transcript of President Trump’s July 2019 phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was released in which Trump asked the Ukrainian President to “do us a favor” and investigate his political opponent’s son and the reports of a missing DNC server.[vii]

On January 31, 2020, following President Trump’s impeachment, Schwarzman made a $3 million contribution to America First Action, a Trump-affiliated super PAC.[viii]

In the 2020 election, Stephen Schwarzman was Trump’s last major Wall Street contributor, continuing to give to the President as many of his peers stopped.[ix]

Throughout his presidency, Stephen Schwarzman continued to be a trusted confidante of the President. New York Times reporter and Trump Administration whisperer Maggie Haberman noted in April 2020 that “In the business world, Mr. Trump most often turns to the founder of Blackstone.”[x]

On November 6, on a call with 30 chief executives following the election, Stephen Schwarzman defended Donald Trump’s response to the 2020 election results, according to the Financial Times:

“Mr Schwarzman, a Republican donor who has been one of Mr Trump’s most energetic supporters on Wall Street, sought to assuage such fears, saying the president was within his rights to challenge election results and forecasting that the legal process would take its course.

He asked whether other participants did not find it surprising that early votes in Pennsylvania had favoured Mr Trump, only for later counts to tip the state in Mr Biden’s favour.

Mr Schwarzman said there had been news reports stating that ballots continued arriving days after the election and that some of them may not have been real — issues, he said, that needed to be resolved by the courts, as the president’s legal team has argued.”

Financial Times, November 2020

Schwarzman waited more than two weeks after Biden’s victory was announced by election officials to publicly acknowledge that Trump had lost.[xii]

Stephen Schwarzman defended his support of President Donald Trump in an interview with Insider in December, before the assault on the US Capitol but after weeks of Trump making false allegations of voter fraud, saying “People are allowed to support presidents.” Schwarzman continued:

“If you got a call from the president, you’d probably help him, wouldn’t you?” Schwarzman told Insider in December. “Or would you turn him down? If it was something where you thought it was something worth accomplishing, would you turn a president down?”

Stephen Schwarzman interview with Insider in December 2020

Yet Schwarzman’s millions of dollars in campaign contributions to Trump, often at times when the President was facing substantial criticism, show he was much more than a neutral counsel.

Despite his statement condemning the attack on the US Capitol, the Washington Post reported yesterday that Schwarzman has not said he will change his political giving in the wake of the attack.

Stephen Schwarzman has stood by and supported Donald Trump despite his growing hate speech, calls for violence, and authoritarianism.


[i] “Steve Schwarzman’s statement on the insurrection in Washington, D.C.,” https://www.blackstone.com/insights/article/a-message-from-steve-schwarzman-on-the-rioting-in-d-c/, accessed Jan 8, 2021.

[ii]“Donald Trump is the accelerant,” Vox, Jan 6, 2021.Federal Election Commission contribution search, accessed Jan 8, 2021.

[iii]“Trump Business Council Fretted for Weeks Over Its Role,” Wall Street Journal, Aug 17, 2017.

[iv]“Trump Business Council Fretted for Weeks Over Its Role,” Wall Street Journal, Aug 17, 2017.

[v]“Trump Takes Heat for Blaming Charlottesville Violence on ‘Many Sides’,” NBC News, Aug 12, 2017.

[vi]“Chris Rock Takes Aim at Trump’s Charlottesville Response,” Bloomberg, Aug 13, 2017.

[vii]“Trump’s Ukraine phone call, annotated,” CNN, Sept 25, 2019.

[viii]Federal Election Commission contribution search, accessed Jan 8, 2021.

[ix]“Schwarzman’s Wallet Props Up Wall Street Elite’s Giving to Trump,” Bloomberg, Aug 6, 2020.

[x]“The Business Leaders Trump Asks for Advice on the Coronavirus,” NY Times, Apr 3, 2020.

[xi]“Stephen Schwarzman defended Donald Trump at CEO meeting on election results,” Financial Times, Nov 14, 2020.

[xii]“Schwarzman Says Trump Needs to Move On From the Election,” Bloomberg, Nov 23, 2020.

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