Buffett: Trump "deserves everybody's respect"

Count billionaire businessman Warren Buffett among the Hillary Clinton supporters who says he's now ready to give president-elect Donald Trump a chance.

"I support any president of the United States," Buffett said during a weekend CNN broadcast of an interview with the widely respected investor. "He deserves everybody's respect."

He also urged Americans to put aside differences from the bitterly fought race Trump and Clinton mounted for the White House and come together in support of the "legitimacy of the president."

But "that doesn't mean they can't criticize him or disagree with what he's doing," added Buffett.

The presidential campaign was one of the most negative in memory, with millions of voters apparently casting ballots against the candidate they disliked, rather than for their preferred choice. Buffett said the depth of the partisan animosity made the election "like none I've ever seen" since he cast his first presidential vote in 1952.

Buffett cited the aftermath of another bitter White House race — Republican George W. Bush's win over Democrat Al Gore in 2000 — as an example of how Americans should "coalesce" behind the newly-elected president. The outcome became official after a hotly contested Supreme Court battle over presidential votes in Florida.

"The whole country went back to work," said Buffett.

Clinton won his support because he felt the former secretary of state had the better personal temperament for the job, said Buffett.

He voiced hope that Trump would prove to be a good president. Trump seemed to tap into widespread U.S. resentment over a wide and growing wealth disparity across the U.S., said Buffett. Many people are not enjoying prosperity from the growing U.S. economy because they can't find jobs, he said.

However, Buffett voiced skepticism about some of Trump's campaign claims about jump-starting the economy into faster growth.

"Nobody can grow the economy 4% in real terms over time," said Buffett. "The math is too extraordinary."

USA TODAY


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