The idea seemed absurd to Mr Schwarzman. “This has been a tough time,” he said, according to a participant who shared details from a transcript of the call. Both media coverage and polls have misled people, Schwarzman said. As a result, people are generally skeptical of what someone is telling them.
He argued that the number of votes that lasted days after the election created a perception problem, especially in places where Mr Trump only appeared to have an early win, only to explain a Biden win later. His comments did not go down well with some participants.
“It was 100 percent known in advance that this was exactly what would happen in a place like Pennsylvania,” replied Richard H. Pildes, a constitutional law expert, according to the participant who had the record. Kenneth Frazier, Merck’s executive director, added that Mr Trump’s actions should undermine democracy and be of great concern, the attendees recalled.
After Mr Schwarzman’s comments leaked to the Financial Times, some Blackstone investors asked questions, say staff advised of the calls. Pension fund employees who invest in Blackstone had previously told company officials that they wished Mr Schwarzman would stay out of politics. Now one pension wanted to know more about what he had said to the other executives and why, and another complained that they didn’t like what they read, said two Blackstone employees.
Although embroiled in controversy, Mr Schwarzman declined to criticize the president. It took him until November 16 – more than a week after the networks were elected – to acknowledge the victory at an economic forum. (“It looks like Joe Biden,” he said.)
When Mr. Trump refused to admit, Mr. Schwarzman declined to sign a November 23 letter demanding a change of power from more than 160 executives. Instead, he made his own statement that “the country should move on,” adding that “I supported President Trump and the strong economic path he has built”. (Jon Gray, Blackstone’s president and great supporter of Mr. Biden, signed the group letter.)
Mr Schwarzman also seems ready to move on. After storming the Capitol, he told colleagues that he believed the president should be removed. And he is now “ready”, he said in recently prepared statements, to help Mr. Biden and his team.