Warren Buffett sees nuclear threats and wealth inequality as the 2 biggest issues for US presidents

Warren Buffett

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  • Warren Buffett shared two key things he looks for in a president in a CNN interview in 2016.
  • The famed investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO said he assesses which candidate has the best temperament and judgment to minimize the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
  • “You need a president who feels that’s his number one job,” he said.
  • Buffett also considers which person will do the most to combat wealth inequality and help working Americans.
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Warren Buffett hasn’t endorsed Joe Biden or Donald Trump for president, but he has outlined two key factors he considers when deciding which candidate to support.

“By far the most important thing” to him is which person is most likely to minimize the risks of weapons of mass destruction, the billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO said in a CNN interview in November 2016.

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“We do have weaponry out there that nobody could have dreamed of 80 years ago,” Buffett continued, emphasizing the need for a president with the right temperament and judgment to tackle threats such as nuclear missiles, cyber warfare, and chemical and biological attacks.

“You need a president who feels that’s his number one job,” he said. “Other things are gonna fall into place, but one mistake there…”

The second-most important question for Buffett is what each candidate will do as president to combat inequality.

“We’ve got an unbelievably prosperous country and loads of people are not participating in that,” he said, arguing that Americans who are willing to work should be able to find a full-time job that pays enough to support them, without the need for a second job.

The wrong president won’t hold back the US

Buffett described elections as “enormously important” in a CNBC interview in May 2016, but he dismissed the idea that their outcome has any long-term impact on Americans’ financial wellbeing.

“If you ask me whether electing the wrong president can permanently damage the US economy, the answer is no,” he said. “We’ve had 44 presidents so far and they haven’t all been gems, but this country will move forward regardless.”

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As a result, Buffett took issue with Trump’s campaign slogan at the time, “Make America Great Again.”

“There’s no need to make America great again, America’s greater than it’s ever been at this point but it’s going to become even greater,” the investor said. “This country works and it works in a way that blows the mind.”

Buffett, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and blasted Trump’s business record at one of her rallies, sounded similarly optimistic about America’s long-term prospects at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting in 2018. 

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