Lucid Shareholder Saudi Arabia: Rich but Difficult Investor

Mohammed bin Salman

The Saudi Crown Prince is pursuing the rebuilding of the kingdom.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The American luxury electric cars are prominently exhibited in the Saudi capital Riyadh. For good reason: the Saudi sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) invested a good billion dollars in US Tesla rival Lucid in 2018.

The IPO should now pay off for the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, just like the bet on Uber before its IPO. There the PIF had pumped $ 3.5 billion into it. The sovereign wealth fund had also secured five percent at Tesla – in addition to investments in young companies, unicorns and start-ups in Silicon Valley. At least 6.2 billion dollars are said to have flowed into start-ups there alone.

The PIF has invested 45 billion dollars in the $ 100 billion Vision Fund of the Japanese Softbank, which is to invest primarily in high-growth industries and high-tech companies. With asset manager Blackstone, the Saudis have launched a $ 20 billion US infrastructure fund.

In addition, the PIF is also involved with investments in America: $ 500 million flowed into the start-up Magicleap, which develops products for virtual reality. At the height of the stock market crash as a result of the corona pandemic in March, the Saudis bought shares in US cruise company Carnival and other securities from crisis-prone sectors.

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Dividends and price gains are said to wash money to the PIF to catapult the Saudi economy into the post-oil era. “Vision 2030” is the name of this master plan for the reconstruction of the kingdom of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The closest partner is the USA: MbS, as the controversial and powerful Crown Prince is called, cultivated the closest relations with Donald Trump, now ex-President of the USA. On a two-week state visit to the United States, MbS toured Silicon Valley, met Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and many other tech entrepreneurs.

After the murder of the opposition journalist Jamal Kashoggi in Istanbul, apparently commissioned by MbS, an outcry went through politics and US companies with Saudi involvement. MbS tried to the last to get an immunity guarantee from Trump in order not to be arrested and indicted on future US visits.

US President Joe Biden’s team has already announced that it will pursue a different Saudi Arabia policy than Trump. What that means for them is currently a mystery to MbS, the PIF, US corporations and start-ups.

More: The despots’ great fear of Joe Biden

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The Crash of Ivanka Trump – Panorama

Problems can be solved with money, those who create dependencies are successful, but family is above all: Ivanka Trump grew up with this worldview. That will be her undoing now.

Of

Mareen Linnartz

According to everything you can hear, she is now in Florida with her husband Jared and their three children Arabella, Joseph and Theodore: They are said to have bought a property for 31 million US dollars. The father and stepmother do not live far away, and the older brother should also plan to pitch his tents here. The sun has been shining in the “Sunshine State” for days, always a pleasant 25 degrees, plus a mild breeze.

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European populists destabilized by the end of Donald Trump

ANALYSIS – Anti-system leaders, who have lost their role model and mainstay, are forced to reinvent themselves.

The election of Joe Biden is a blow to European populism or illiberal regimes, to which Donald Trump had given credibility and diplomatic support. His defeat, the attack on Capitol Hill and Brexit were all stab wounds to their political certainties.

One after the other, they ended up distancing themselves from the one they considered both a protector and an inspirer. Many had already been shocked by his refusal to accept defeat. But the invasion of Parliament played a big part in this turnaround, which was sometimes spectacular. Czech leaders turned their jackets in the blink of an eye. Prime Minister Andrej Babis took off his red Trumpian baseball cap after the attack on Capitol Hill and sent Joe Biden a warm congratulatory letter. Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic also called for a “strong cooperationWith the new American president. Matteo Salvini, the

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Relationship with the USA: Europe welcomes Biden (neue-deutschland.de)

Donald Trump is gone, Joe Biden is running and, according to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the EU is “ready for a new beginning with our long-term, most trusted partner.” Is a phase of transatlantic peace and cooperation now beginning? Rather not.

For example, under the German Presidency, the EU recently agreed on an investment agreement with China. It offers European companies »previously unknown access to the Chinese market«, according to von der Leyen. A free trade pact is to follow. In doing so, the EU is undermining Biden’s attempts to weaken China by isolating it internationally and pulling the EU on its side. At the end of December, his security advisor, Jake Sullivan, called for “early consultations on our common position vis-à-vis China”.

This week the EU also adopted a new strategy to strengthen the international role of the euro. This is directed twice against the USA. First, a strengthening of the euro would come at the expense of the US currency and would gradually weaken the global status of the dollar. However, the financial and thus global dominance of the USA is based on this status. The world power of the dollar not only grants Washington almost unlimited freedom from debt, but also serves as a lever for sanctions against unpopular states – for example Iran – to which the EU has to bow. On the other hand, the EU is now strengthening the euro in order to “better defend itself against unfair and illegal practices from other countries” (read: USA).

Furthermore, this week the EU Commission started a public consultation on a digital tax – a tax that essentially the US high-tech giants would have to pay and was therefore fought by Donald Trump. With the digital tax, Europe wants to participate in the business of US corporations, with provisions on data security it wants to remove Europe’s data from Washington’s access, and with antitrust lawsuits against Google & Co. it aims to reduce the market power of US corporations in Europe.

All of this shows, first, that the global conflicts of recent years were not rooted in the person of Trump, but rather in conflicts of interests that a capitalist world market brings with it – and which will therefore not disappear with Trump’s departure. And secondly, the EU is anything but a junior partner sandwiched between two world powers who is condemned to be defensive and who really only wants peace, cooperation and stability.

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Joe Biden is redesigning financial regulation

The new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission is to be Gary Gensler. Gensler is considered a fearless overseer who is not afraid of arguments and is very familiar with the financial markets. Investors mostly see this as a good sign. Outgoing SEC chief Jay Clayton, appointed by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, has been criticized for being too friendly towards the industry.

From 2009 to 2014, under US President Barack Obama, Gensler was already in charge of the derivatives supervision CFTC. Biden was vice president at the time. During this time, Gensler initiated reforms that strengthen the derivatives markets and prevent banks from taking excessive risks. He also oversaw the investigation into the widespread manipulation of the Libor reference rate and implemented the financial reform.

Gensler had already proven back then that as a Wall Street insider he could be an effective regulator. He worked for the investment bank Goldman Sachs for nearly 20 years and enjoys great respect in the financial industry, as well as in the party’s left wing – a rare combination.

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Richard Trumka, head of the powerful AFL-CIO union, welcomed the staff, as did the Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has earned a reputation for being a banking horror in recent years. Gensler “showed during his time in the Obama administration that he was committed to the middle class,” praised Trumka. He will fight “against excesses on Wall Street”.

Gensler will particularly look at fintechs and cryptocurrencies

A long to-do list is waiting for Gensler at the SEC. He will take a closer look at the so-called Spacs, he has already leaked that. Spacs stands for Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. These are shell companies that initially raise capital through an IPO in order to invest the money in the takeover of a company that has not yet been identified. They are currently the trend on Wall Street, but are hardly regulated and structured in such a way that the initiators in particular benefit, but not the small investors.

Gensler will also keep a close eye on fintech companies and cryptocurrencies. Gensler, who currently teaches at the elite MIT, is a crypto expert and advises the “Digital Currency Initiative” of his university. He gave his first lecture on “Blockchain and Money”.

Gary Gensler

From 2009 to 2014, under US President Barack Obama, Gensler was already in charge of the derivatives supervision CFTC.

(Photo: Reuters)

He believes the technology has potential, but expects major changes, as he explained at a 2019 event. “I would be surprised if the technology wasn’t anchored somewhere in the financial system in ten years. But so much of the stuff that is currently hyped will no longer exist. ”In a study from November he also looked at the current risk management tools and analyzed why they are not sufficient for an age of new technologies.

Rohit Chopra is supposed to assist him with some tasks

In addition to his focus on cryptocurrencies, he has to reform publication rules in order, among other things, to map climate risks for listed companies. Among other things, Rohit Chopra should stand by his side. So far he is commissioner of the competition authority FTC, but he is supposed to be head of the consumer protection authority for financial products (CFPB), which was founded after the financial crisis.

Chopra spoke out against the power of big tech while at the FTC. He voted in favor of the agency’s lawsuit against Facebook’s “illegal monopoly”, which a group of attorneys general has joined.

Observers in Washington expect that in his new position Chopra will, among other things, take care of tenants who have defaulted on their payments due to the pandemic and are illegally kicked out by their landlords. He also apparently wants to take a closer look at the practices of debt collection agents. Under Trump, the influence of the consumer protection agency was significantly reduced. But the authority should clearly gain in profile.

In addition to choosing Gensler, Warren also welcomed Chopra’s decision. The Senator from Massachusetts helped design the consumer protection agency. “Our bank regulators have been acting like they work for the institutions they oversee, not the American people, for too long. But big changes are coming, ”she said.

Obama confidante should also play a major role

According to media reports, Obama confidante Michael Barr is planned for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). He was in the Treasury under Obama and played a major role in shaping the far-reaching financial reform that was passed after the financial crisis. The OCC is an authority based in the Treasury Department that oversees 1200 banks.

Barr currently teaches at the University of Michigan and was previously also an advisor to the cryptocurrency Ripple, which is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the SEC.

More: More women, more blacks, more immigrants: These are Biden’s most important comrades-in-arms

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the big forgiveness of Donald Trump

Donald Trump is preparing to grant his forgiveness to more than a hundred people before leaving the White House. The list could include three of his children, Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner, not to mention his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, his former adviser Stephen Bannon, his chief of staff Mark Meadows, his adviser Stephen Miller, Chief of Staff John McEntee and Director of Social Media Dan Scavino. Donald Trump could also seek to forgive himself.

→ THE FACTS. Donald Trump pardons 73 people, including his former adviser Steve Bannon

At least $ 10,000 in fees to obtain a pardon

For several weeks, lobbyists and lawyers, highly paid by wealthy clients, anxious to erase criminal convictions from their criminal records, have been asking the president. Advocates for criminal justice reform say their clients have been wrongly convicted or given unfair sentences and deserve to be released from prison.

→ ANALYSIS. Donald Trump, two impeachment procedures in four years

Former Donald Trump personal attorney John Dowd, lobbyist and former prosecutor Brett Tolman and former campaign advisor Karen Giorno have monetized their services to obtain these pardons reveals the New York Times.

According to the American daily, former Republican senator Tim Hutchinson has thus paid Brett Tolman at least 10,000 dollars (nearly 8,300 €) since the end of 2020 to obtain from the White House a pardon for his son, Jeremy Hutchinson. , a former Arkansas lawmaker who pleaded guilty in 2019 to bribes and tax evasion.

170 pardons and commutation of sentences under Bill Clinton

Few regulations govern the granting of presidential pardons, nor the lobbying for them, especially by lawyers. Nothing in the law prevents former Trump collaborators from being paid to act as intermediaries. On the other hand, any explicit offer of payment to the president in return could be the subject of an investigation for corruption. According to New York Times, no evidence of such bargaining has surfaced.

Presidential pardons granted at the end of a mandate have become a tradition, but paid lobbying by collaborators or those close to the president has little precedent. In the last days of his presidency, Bill Clinton had carried out 170 pardons and commutations of sentence.

Some benefit people who have paid thousands of dollars to family members or collaborators. At the time, however, the justice ministry had examined and validated most of the beneficiaries, out of thousands of leniency requests.

The “preventive pardons”, novelty of the Trump era

In the case of Donald Trump, the novelty consists in granting a large number of “preventive” pardons to protect the beneficiaries of any prosecution for a federal crime committed before this clemency measure.

In July 2020, Donald Trump has already commuted the sentence of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his advisor Roger Stone, convicted in the context of the investigation by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the presidential election from 2016.

A few days before Thanksgiving, Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, also indicted for lying to the FBI as part of the Russian investigation, received a pardon. Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law, as well as three former elected Republican Congressmen and four paramilitaries involved in the murder of civilians in Iraq, also benefited from the presidential amnesty.

→ PODCAST. Trump’s future, the heirs of Trumpism – “This is America”

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Corona crisis in the USA: Corona fight command (neue-deutschland.de)

Many Americans did not survive Donald Trump’s presidency. Over 400,000 people in the United States had died of Covid-19 as of Wednesday – more than the country’s victims in World War II. “If there are angels in heaven, then there are nurses,” said the new US President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening before his inauguration at a memorial service for the pandemic dead. Biden did what Donald Trump never could and never wanted: show empathy and express the grief in the country, appreciate it.

But he will have to act in the next days and weeks. The country has had a total of 24 million cases of infection so far, that is more than 20 percent of all cases worldwide. Biden announced that he would “always be honest.” In a speech a few days ago he said: “The truth is, winter will stay dark, it will get worse before it gets better.”

The consequence of the inaction of the Trump administration and the politics of the Republicans in the states: Nationwide, the number of new infections is still around 184,000 per day, it has recently fallen only slightly. Over 3000 Americans die of or with Covid-19 every day. Many countries now prescribe the wearing of masks. But despite the high number of cases, shops are only closed in a few regions, and there are often no contact restrictions or stay-at-home decrees. According to forecast models from various US universities, the half-million death mark will soon be exceeded.

The Biden government has already put together a whole series of measures to combat the pandemic in the short term – on 200 pages. Biden plans to have 100 million Americans vaccinated within the first 100 days of his presidency. The goal is the administration of one million vaccine doses per day, doctors demand up to three million. To this end, Biden wants to instruct the disaster control agency Fema to set up vaccination centers in stadiums, schools and community centers. Currently, around 15 million Americans, or around four percent, have been vaccinated with at least one dose – the Trump administration had set a vaccination target of 20 million by the end of 2020. Problems arise again and again, so strict guidelines in some places meant that vaccination doses had to be thrown away because they had expired or could not be vaccinated in time. On the other hand, the Trump administration has left such a mess that it is now apparently unclear where half of the 38 million vaccine doses already distributed in the country are because states are starting to complain about delivery bottlenecks.

Vaccination doses are given mainly in hospitals, but also in drive-thru centers. Team Biden wants to double the number of these stations at which people are sprayed in their cars. In addition, mobile clinics are supposed to bring vaccinations to elderly, frail people. In addition, 100 community vaccination centers are to be set up by the disaster control authority over the next 30 days. This should also reduce the current ethnic inequality with regard to Covid-19 diseases and vaccinations. Studies show that black Americans and Latinos are particularly likely to get sick and that currently residents in predominantly white neighborhoods manage to get vaccination appointments more often.

Biden has also authorized the application of the Defense Authorization Act by presidential decree. According to this law from World War II, the President and the government can force companies in the event of a crisis to take preferential treatment of government contracts or to produce urgently needed goods – then war equipment, today masks, protective equipment, medical equipment worth 30 billion dollars. “We produced tanks, planes and uniforms in record time during World War II,” explains Biden. The need for government regulations is also shown by the fact that in the past few weeks, in some places, such as the city of Los Angeles, the oxygen for ventilation of Covid-19 patients has become scarce. Non-medical workers should also be better equipped with protective equipment.

A national “Pandemic Testing Board” is supposed to coordinate the production of “tens of millions” of additional tests, including new house tests, in a kind of “war production” and then distribute them. To ensure that the tests also reach marginalized communities, a public health corps with 100,000 “culturally competent” health workers is to be set up, which will also take on contact tracing tasks. By presidential decree, a mask requirement now applies on the premises of government buildings and on federal motorways.

Within three months, Biden also wants to reopen the schools for elementary school students below the eighth grade, but first let the Ministry of Education research a safe opening. Schools are to be renovated beforehand with federal funds totaling $ 170 billion so that better hygiene and ventilation can be ensured or outdoor learning becomes possible. Biden has also declared the USA’s re-entry into the World Health Organization by presidential decree. In addition, a program of the development agency USAID for the worldwide observation and surveillance of viruses and their mutations is to be restarted.

In the medium term, Biden is aiming for a 1,900 billion aid package against the corona crisis, which includes $ 1,400 direct payments to almost all Americans, an additional federal unemployment benefit of $ 400 per week through September, aid for small businesses and many other progressive measures such as stricter regulations on sick pay. Only parliament, i.e. the US Congress, can decide on this aid package. There the Democrats have a slim majority, but because of the 60-vote filibuster rule, it is unclear what will be decided how quickly, because the Republicans are reluctant. In any case, the federal unemployment benefit extended in December expires in mid-March.

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Impeachment proceedings against Trump begin in the second week of February – Biden reverses restrictive immigration policy

The US intelligence services are said to have died after the storm on the Capitol Risk of domestic terrorism take a look. president Joe Biden have intelligence coordinator April Haines, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security instructed to investigate the threat posed by domestic extremism, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday. The National Security Council should review its policies and see how government agencies can be better informed about the problem.

Grove’s office was created after the September 11, 2001 attacks to combat international terrorism. The fact that it is now being switched on shows the importance the government attaches to the threat posed by extremists at home. “The rise in domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing threat to national security,” said Psaki.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said it was critical that the government address the issue Domestic terrorism tackle. “Right-wing extremism and extreme white racism are promoted on Internet platforms become the greatest threat to our country“, he said.

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Florida councilors reject idea of ​​naming highway and airport after Trump

(EFE) – Councilors of Palm Beach County (Florida), where the former president of the United States resides since last Wednesday, Donald Trump, They reject both ideas of naming an avenue and the local airport in honor of the Republican, who will face the second impeachment trial in February during his four-year term.

The commissioner (councilor) Melissa McKinlay noted on his Twitter account that it will not support the designation of “anything” bearing Trump’s name.

He specified that Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) cannot erect “markings for honorary highway or bridge designations unless the commission of the city or the affected county promulgates the resolution that supports the designation ”.

“Let’s be very clear. I’m a woman. I am a mom. I support women. If you say that you can grab me, my daughters or any woman by their genitals because you are rich, I will not support naming anything in your honor“Said the commissioner in reference to comments by Trump in a video released during his campaign for the Presidency.

Last Thursday, the Republican legislator from Florida, Anthony Sabatini, pointed out that he was going to propose in the state Congress that US Highway 27 be given the name of Donald Trump, who is now based in his Club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach after leaving the presidency.

Read also: Legend Larry King dies at 87

McKinlay stressed that the section in question, from the dividing line between Broward and Palm Beach counties to the one that separates it from Hendry County is in his district and “No” will support the placement of Trump signs.

On the other hand, the newspaper Sun Sentinel consulted the seven councilors of Palm Beach, and five of them responded, noting that they oppose another idea suggested by a member of the Republican Party to rename the local international airport after the former president.

The Republican faces impeachment, the second of his term, for his responsibility in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, possibly starting next Tuesday.

The seizure of the Capitol by “Trumpistas” promoted by the then president who has argued without proof that the elections that gave the president the winner were fraudulent Joe Biden, left five dead.

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Walmart and Amazon CEOs want to help Joe Biden

“The CEOs of the Business Roundtable stand ready as constructive partners,” said the chairman of the powerful trade association, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. The Partnership for New York speaks of a “very promising start” after the new US President Joe Biden rejoined the Paris climate agreement and the WHO. The online retailer Amazon offers its help with vaccination.

After a difficult relationship between US companies and Donald Trump, the latest statements sound like a true “honeymoon”. Democrats in particular are not used to so many warm words from the business world. At the same time, the CEOs of the companies make it clear that they will not approve of tax increases or stricter regulation.

Tom Donohue, the president of the US Chamber of Commerce, said that his association wanted to help the new government to be successful. But at the same time he warned: “The recovery in the midst of a pandemic is” exactly the wrong time to test the resilience of businesses further through tax increases or new regulations that do more harm than good. “

Praise for the stimulus package

On the other hand, there is a lot of praise from Wall Street for the planned Corona stimulus package. JP Morgan shared an internal study with Biden’s team in early December. America’s largest bank had analyzed anonymized customer data and demonstrated how much the additional unemployment benefits, which initially expired in August, would have helped customers and, ultimately, the economy.

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There is also support on Wall Street for Biden’s announced minimum wage. “A minimum wage of $ 15 an hour lifts a family of four above the poverty line. Everyone who works 40 hours a week should at least live above the poverty line, ”said Ralph Schlosstein, head of the New York investment bank Evercore on Bloomberg TV.

Schlosstein could even imagine coupling the minimum wage to the inflation rate in order to secure purchasing power. With that he contradicts Doug McMillon, the Walmart boss and head of the Business Roundtable. The does not support Biden’s plan, which provides for the minimum wage to more than double from currently 7.25 dollars. Walmart had recently raised the hourly wages for its employees voluntarily above the minimum wage. But McMillon wants the minimum wage to be adjusted to the local cost of living.

The major US banks released their fourth quarter figures last week. It was clear there: financial institutions like Bank of America and Citigroup, which live more from business with private and corporate customers, had a much more difficult time than the investment banks, which benefited from strong capital market activities.

Interest rates are low and demand for new loans is weak. Default rates are not as high as initially thought, but all bank managers warned that the crisis was not over. They therefore have an interest in new and comprehensive stimulus packages from the Biden government.

Companies want to help vaccinate

In view of the disastrous situation of the corona pandemic in the USA, companies have recently offered their help for vaccination: Amazon, Starbucks and Walmart all want to make their logistical competence and their presence in the area available to get the vaccines into the arms of the people faster Get people.

Walmart, which also runs pharmacies, plans to open more than 5,000 shops to vaccinate people there. Amazon partners with a Seattle hospital to vaccinate thousands of people in a pop-up clinic.

Biden claims to have vaccinated 100 million people in the first 100 days. So far, only just under 20 million have been vaccinated. That was originally the goal for the end of the year. But vaccination on site is often slow in the USA too. In New York, on the other hand, distribution works on site.

But on Friday the vaccines were almost completely used up and supplies were missing. New York had to cancel thousands of vaccination appointments last week because there weren’t enough doses. Most recently, the situation in New York had worried the city’s largest employers to such an extent that they had now offered to help the city themselves.

Dozens of company representatives were on a conference call with state vaccination officer Larry Schwartz on Thursday. Including the largest institutions on Wall Street, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and KKR.

They are also acting in their own interests: they all know that New York’s economy cannot recover and that employees cannot be called back to the offices while the vaccinations are stalled. The managers offered the state help with the logistics and distribution of the vaccines so that additional doses could be obtained.

“The business community is very concerned about the consequences of the vaccination delays. This is extremely important for economic recovery, ”emphasizes Kathy Wylde, head of the influential“ Partnership for New York City ”organization, which represents the interests of the city’s major companies.

The companies would know how many fronts the city and state are fighting on. “Therefore, they offer expertise in logistics, as well as medical facilities and staff who can help distribute the vaccine.”

CEOs have had a difficult relationship with Trump

America’s CEOs and Washington have had an eventful relationship over the years. Under Trump, several company bosses such as Apple boss Tim Cook and GM boss Mary Barra initially joined the president’s advisory staff. But after the lack of condemnation of the racist demonstrations in Charlottesville, the panel had disbanded.

After that, many CEOs were particularly careful not to attract attention in order to avoid the president’s anger. Almost everyone has benefited from the policy of tax cuts and deregulation. But anyone who suffered from the trade war and dared to relocate production abroad, such as Harley Davidson, quickly got caught in Trump’s Twitter fire.

After the elections in November, many associations and individual company bosses pushed for recognition of the Biden victory. When the Trump-fueled mob stormed the Capitol, they distanced themselves from the Republicans and even withdrew some of their financial support. Under the new president, the signs have so far been on cooperation.

More: In some industries, Joe Biden’s presidency will bring significant changes. What that means for individual stocks.

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