Billionaires on Donald Trump: What Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and more have to say

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Billionaire Donald Trump repeatedly noted his largely self-funded presidential primary campaign en route to being elected the 45th president of the United States. Although he looked to donors to fund his successful general election bid, Trump's wealth and business acumen remained prominent aspects of his campaign.

But what do other members of the financial elite think about Trump as he makes the transition from businessman to president?

Oprah Winfrey

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015,
(Credit: Invision/AP/Greg Allen)

Before Donald Trump named Mike Pence his running mate, he told ABC that he would "win easily" if former talk show host Oprah Winfrey were on his ticket. However, when asked on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" what her response would be to a formal offer, she said she would reply, "Donald, I'm with her," referring to the phrase Hillary Clinton's followers have used to express their support for the Democratic presidential nominee.

T. Boone Pickens

C1VPIC15 T Boone Pickens, energy magnate Handout
(Credit: Handout)

T. Boone Pickens took a laid-back approach to his endorsement of Donald Trump. The 88-year-old oil tycoon cited his age as a reason for not worrying in case a Trump presidency didn't work out. "I'm ready to take a chance on it," he said of his decision to support Trump in May. "And just in case it's a mistake, [I'll] be gone."

Joe Ricketts

FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2005 file
(Credit: AP/Dave Weaver)

Donald Trump gained support from a former detractor when Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts announced plans to donate around $1 million to a pro-Trump group. Ricketts previously supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and also donated $6 million to an anti-Trump super PAC.

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Steven Spielberg

(FILES)Director Steven Spielberg arrives on the red carpet
(Credit: AFP/Getty Images/Valerie Macon)

Director Steven Spielberg fittingly made a film reference when he was asked about how he would feel if Donald Trump were to become president. "America is a rational country ... and right now it's going through what Paddy Chayefsky predicted in his screenplay 'Network,' when everybody went to the window to shout: 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore,' " Spielberg told Sky News in July. However, Spielberg thinks everything will work itself out come Election Day. "I think there's going to be a happy ending in November," he said.

Sheldon Adelson

FILE - In this April 12, 2012 file
(Credit: AP/Kin Cheung)

Sheldon Adelson endorsed Donald Trump after he became the Republican Party's presumptive nominee in May. "He's our nominee," the casino magnate said. "He won fair and square."

Tom Barrack

Tom Barrack, Chief Executive Officer, Colony Capital, speaks
(Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Tom Barrack, CEO of Colony Capital, spoke at the Republican National Convention in July. Barrack, who has both a personal and professional relationship with Donald Trump, said the presidential nominee is "good enough, tough enough, smart enough and well-versed enough to do it on his own merits."

Michael Bloomberg

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg addresses
(Credit: AFP/Getty Images/Robyn Beck)

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attacked Donald Trump in a speech during the Democratic National Convention. The founder of Bloomberg LP, who is worth an estimated $40 billion, criticized Trump's business skills, saying, "Trump says he wants to run the nation like he's running his business? God help us." Bloomberg also made a dig at Trump's wealth. "Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy," he said.

In March, Bloomberg said he would not run for president, citing concerns that it would dilute the field and hand the election to either Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz, who were campaigning for the Republican nomination at the time.

Meg Whitman

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2014, file
(Credit: AP/Richard Drew)

At an ideas summit hosted by Mitt Romney in June, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman likened Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, according to attendees at a closed-door event, as reported by The Washington Post. On Aug. 2, 2016, Whitman reiterated her statements, calling Trump "a dishonest demagogue." The Republican fund-raiser said she would vote for Hillary Clinton, contribute to her campaign and attempt to persuade other Republicans to do the same.

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Carl Icahn

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn speaks during a
(Credit: Bloomberg News/Peter Foley)

Investor Carl Icahn, a Queens native, became the controlling stakeholder of Donald Trump's former casino company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, a subsidary of Icahn Enterprises, in February 2016. He also owns Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., although the casino closed in October 2016, amid a strike by the city's main casino workers union. Trump has previously suggested Icahn should serve as his Treasury secretary should Trump get elected. Icahn turned down the offer, but the two appear to maintain a friendly relationship. "Right now, we have a problem as far as capital spending goes. We need somebody to shake up the regulatory agencies, and I think he's the man to do it," Icahn said of Trump.

Warren Buffett

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Warren Buffett, chairman
(Credit: Getty Images/Mark Wilson)

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has publicly challenged Donald Trump to release his tax returns. The presidential candidate says he has not done so because he is being audited by the IRS. However, Buffett has said that he is also under audit, which is no reason to withhold tax returns.

"You're only afraid if you''ve got something to be afraid about," Buffett said at a rally for Clinton on Aug. 1, 2016. "He's not afraid because of the IRS. He's afraid because of you."

Buffett also condemned Trump's comments in response to the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, who died during service in Iraq in 2004. Khan's father, Khizr Khan, said when speaking at the Democratic National Convention that, unlike his son, Trump had made no sacrifices. "I think I've made a lot of sacrifices," Trump said in response on ABC News. "I've worked very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs."

On Aug. 1, 2016, Buffett said in response to Trump, "How in the world can you stand up to a couple of parents who lost a son and talk about sacrificing because you were building a bunch of buildings?"

Mark Cuban

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2015 file
(Credit: AP/Scott Roth)

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks and one of the entrepreneurs on the reality television show, "Shark Tank," has been vocal on social media in his criticism of  Donald Trump and derided him a couple of public appearances as well. He cracked jokes about Trump on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" after the Republican National Convention, and, in an appearance in Pittsburgh on July 30, 2016, said he decided to support Clinton out of fear of Trump. "Initially, I really hoped he would be something different, that as a businessperson, I thought there was an opportunity there. But then he went off the reservation and went [expletive] crazy," Cuban said.

Jeff Bezos

FILE - In this May 5, 2016 file
(Credit: AP/Susan Walsh)

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos responded to Donald Trump on Dec. 7, 2015, after Trump insulted The Washington Post, which Bezos owns. He tweeted, "Finally trashed by @realDonaldTrump. Will still reserve him a seat on the Blue Origin rocket. #sendDonaldtospace."

Mark Zuckerberg

File-This Feb. 21, 2016, file photo sshows Facebook
(Credit: AP/Manu Fernandez)

Facebook founder, chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also a co-founder of the immigration reform group FWD.us, which has criticized Donald Trump's immigration policies. At Facebook's F78 developer conference on April 12, 2016, Zuckerberg referenced Trump's position, saying, "I'm starting to see people and nations turning inward, against this idea of a connected world and a global community," he said. "I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others."

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Bill Gates

FILE - In this May 5, 2014 file
(Credit: AP/Nati Harnik)

Like Facebook's Zuckerberg, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is another FWD.us co-founder. On June 1, 2016, Gates announced a list of people who signed onto the Giving Pledge, a group in which members promise to give a majority of their wealth to charity. When it was noted that Donald Trump had not signed the pledge," Gates said, "Donald hasn't been known for his philanthropy. He's been known for other things."

Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, speaks at the
(Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

PayPal founder Peter Thiel spoke during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, briefly criticizing the Republican Party before supporting Donald Trump.

"I don't pretend to agree with every plank in our party's platform. But fake culture wars only serve to distract us from our economic decline. And no one is being honest about it but Donald Trump," Thiel said.

Charles and David Koch

David Koch, left, speaks in Orlando, Fla., Aug.
(Credit: AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack, left; Bo Rader)

Charles and David Koch are speaking with their wallets this election cycle, as they have in the past.

Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, right, hosted a July 2016 weekend retreat with GOP lawmakers. Although he did not mention Donald Trump by name, he said Americans are looking to the wrong people to fix the nation's problems. "And to me, the answers they're getting are frightening," he said, "because by and large, these answers will make matters worse."

Mark Holden, one of Charles Koch's chief lieutenants, was more direct, saying Charles Koch would not use his resources to help Trump win the election. "We're focused on the Senate," said Holden, general counsel and senior vice president of Koch Industries.

Robert Mercer

Robert Mercer, at the 2014 World Science Festival
(Credit: PatrickMcMullan.com/Sylvain Gaboury)

Like the Koch brothers, Long Island Republican donor Robert Mercer has let his actions do the talking for him this election cycle. Listed in 2015 as the co-chief executive of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, Mercer has been a generous political donor.

After initially investing $13.5 million in a super PAC to support Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Mercer switched his allegiance to Donald Trump. In June 2016, he, his wife, Diane, and daughter, Rebekah, each contributed the maximum $5,400 to Trump's presidential campaign fund, Federal Election Commission filings show. They also donated to Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee. Robert and Diane gave $5,400 each, while Rebekah gave $449,000.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of
(Credit: Bloomberg News/David Paul Morris)

Elon Musk, a cofounder and CEO of Tesla and founder of SpaceX, said he tries not to get involved in politics. However, in October 2015, he said of the race for the Republican presidential bid, "I don't really have strong feelings except that hopefully Trump doesn't get the nomination of the Republican Party."

Paul Singer

Paul Singer, founder and CEO of hedge fund
(Credit: AP/John Minchillo)

Paul Singer, founder of the hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., has said he may not vote for any of this year's presidential candidates.

At the 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, Singer said he disagrees with Donald Trump's anti-trade policies and believes they could spell doom for the worldwide economy. "I think if he actually stuck to those policies and gets elected president, it's close to a guarantee of a global depression," Singer said.

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