While billionaire Donald Trump might be willing to pay higher taxes, he says many of his other corporate colleagues are less “patriotic” and would take their business outside the U.S.
One of the wealthiest men in the world, Warren Buffett, urged the government to raise his taxes in an op-ed in The New York Times on Monday, saying he and his “mega-rich friends” have been “coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress." Buffett's piece, which enraged conservatives, became a talking point on President Obama's Midwestern bus trip, as the president also supports higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
“I’d be willing [to pay higher taxes],” Trump said on Wednesday, responding to Buffett’s op-ed on ABC’s Good Morning America. “I put country first. A lot of people don’t necessarily put country first…. In many cases, they’re not patriotic. They’re business machines. And they’re going to say, ‘Thank you very much, I appreciate you letting us know. We're moving to Switzerland.'”
Trump said there would be a “mass exodus” of business if the tax rates were raised. However, he did say that keeping tax breaks for big oil companies would be a mistake. "For us to be subsidizing oil companies is absolutely insane," he said, breaking from many tea partiers and Republicans who do not want taxes raised on businesses or individuals.
“When [it’s] explained to the tea party, I can't imagine anyone will stick up for Exxon Mobil or some of these big oil companies making a fortune and paying relatively little in taxes,” Trump said.
Trump, who announced in May that he would not run for the Republican presidential nomination, has been in contact with many of the GOP candidates. He defended Texas Gov. Rick Perry's remark about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's "treasonous" economic policy decisions, calling it just "an expression."
"Like everybody else in this country, we're all frustrated, so I think he has the right to show some emotion," Trump said of Perry. “.... I think he is a very impressive guy with a very good record, so it'll be interesting to see how he does under the spotlight. I think he's going to do well.”
He said he had a “lot of respect” for Sarah Palin, and called Michele Bachmann a “a great, wonderful woman… just energetic, very smart… badly treated by the press.”
The only Republican hopeful he says he doesn’t know? Mitt Romney. “If you look at his record as governor, it wasn't totally stellar. His job production was not great at all -- in fact, it was the third worst in the nation. There are pretty negative things with respect to Mitt Romney which, frankly, he's going to have to overcome.”