Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein: Sanders candidacy a 'dangerous moment'
The head of Goldman Sachs said on Wednesday that Bernie Sanders' insurgent candidacy "has the potential to be a dangerous moment."
Lloyd Blankfein, who is chairman and CEO of the bank, was speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
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In January, Sanders was asked by Bloomberg Politics to list an example of corporate greed, and he listed Blankfein.
“I don’t take it personally since we never met," Blankfein responded.
But he added that Sanders' attacks on the "billionaire class" and bankers could be dangerous.
“it has the potential to personalize it, it has the potential to be a dangerous moment. Not just for Wall Street not just for the people who are particularly targeted but for anybody who is a little bit out of line,” Blankfein said. “It’s a liability to say I’m going to compromise I’m going to get one millimeter off the extreme position I have and if you do you have to back track and swear to people that you’ll never compromise. It’s just incredible. It’s a moment in history.”
Blankfein avoided saying whether he supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, though both Clintons have long ties to Blankfein and to Goldman Sachs, which has been a heavy donor to Bill Clinton's charity work.
In 2012, Blankfein said he was a registered Democrat but a Rockefeller Republican. In 2015, he donated to the campaigns of Republican senators Rob Portman and Roy Blunt, but in 2008 he endorsed and raised money for Clinton's failed presidential bid. His wife Laura has donated the $2,700 maximum to Clinton's 2016 campaign.
But on Squawk Box, Blankfein would say only, “I don’t want to help or hurt anybody by giving them an endorsement."
During the Democratic debate in January, Sanders criticized Clinton's Goldman Sachs ties, referring four times to tax returns released by her campaign showing she received a total of $675,000 for three speeches to the bank in 2013. "Goldman Sachs is not going to bring forth a secretary of the Treasury for a Sanders administration," he said.
According to an account in 2014 by former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Bill Clinton apparently said of the populist anger sweeping the country, “You could take Lloyd Blankfein into a dark alley and slit his throat, and it would satisfy them for about two days. Then the blood lust would rise again.”
Correction: A previous version of this story said Geithner was speaking last year, it was 2014.