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Trump and Biden's chief of staff are squaring off next week to sway top business execs

Brent D. Griffiths   

Trump and Biden's chief of staff are squaring off next week to sway top business execs
  • Former President Donald Trump is set to address an influential meeting of the nation's top CEOs.
  • The former president is making a major play for Wall Street.

Former President Donald Trump and a top representative for President Joe Biden are set to square off behind closed doors next week as both sides make a play for Wall Street ahead of the election.

According to CNBC, Trump and Jeff Zients, the White House chief of staff, plan to address the Business Roundtable during a closed-door meeting on June 13. The influential group's members include some of the nation's most powerful CEOs.

Biden was invited to address the group but is sending Zients in his place as the president is set to be overseas to attend the G7 summit in Italy. Zients, a millionaire, cut his teeth on leadership at places like the Advisory Board, an education and healthcare consulting company. He later served on Facebook's board.

Trump has been making inroads with the Wall Street crowd, with which he had a tenuous relationship during his administration. Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, a roundtable member, recently endorsed Trump. Another member, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who has described himself as "barely a Democrat," has said Trump was right about some issues. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not a member, but The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the world's richest person was discussing an advisory role in a second Trump administration should the former president win again. (Musk later denied any such conversations.)

Executives loved Trump's tax cuts, but some loathed the chaos around him. Several CEOs left Trump's White House advisory councils after his response to white-nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. It's likely why many top CEOs tried to boost other candidates or distanced themselves from Trump when it appeared he could face a more-difficult GOP primary season.

The venue could pose some risks for Trump.

The Washington Post has reported he's made some strikingly explicit requests behind closed doors for oil CEOs to back his campaign. The Post said that in one instance, Trump told the oil executives that they should give $1 billion to help him return to the White House and that the amount would be a deal based on the regulatory and tax relief they would receive if he was elected. Congressional Democrats are investigating the details of that meeting.