AIC’s Sommers: Trump `isn’t suited’ to win presidential election

  • Hillary Clinton will win the presidency
  • Vulnerable Republicans up for re-election will acknowledge publicly that Trump won’t win
  • Sommers was Chief of Staff to ex-House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner

Hillary Clinton will emerge victorious in the presidential election, said Mike Sommers, president and CEO of the American Investment Council.

Sommers, who spoke June 21 at the Buyouts Chicago conference, repeatedly said that Clinton would win the November presidential election. Donald Trump “is not suited to win,” said Sommers, noting that the past six weeks have not been good for the candidate.

This week, the presumptive GOP nominee fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, in a major shakeup just months from the general election, CNN reported.

Trump’s campaign is also low on funds. At the end of May, the campaign coffers had just $1.3 million in cash and owed Trump himself $45.7 million, NPR said in a June 21 story. Trump’s negative rating is also higher than that of any other presidential candidate in history, NPR said.

Sommers said he expects vulnerable Republicans up for reelection to acknowledge publicly that Trump will not win. “It’s becoming clear to them that [Trump’s] vision is not aligned with the conservative agenda led by Paul Ryan and followed by most leading Republicans,” Sommers said.

He made the comments at Buyouts Chicago, the annual conference where this year several hundred private equity executives descended on the Westin Hotel on Michigan Avenue. Sommers spoke during a keynote session, “What Will the Fall Election Mean for PE?”

Sommers was the chief of staff to former House Speaker John Boehner. He became CEO of the AIC, a lobbying group representing 37 PE firms, in January.

Every four years, the idea of changing the tax treatment of carried interest gains momentum. This year is no different. Both Trump and Clinton favor closing the so-called carried-interest loophole, which enables a certain segment of the population, mostly wealthier Americans, to pay a lower tax rate.

(Carried interest is currently treated as a long-term capital gain, which is taxed at a maximum of 20 percent. If it were treated as regular income, carried interest could be taxed as high as 39.6 percent.)

Such a change could have potential negative consequences. American Investment Council research published June 21 showed that PE firms invested $625 billion in U.S. companies in 2015, up 29 percent from 2014’s total. Private equity also created 4.5 million jobs in 2015, an AIC spokesman said.

Changing the tax treatment of carried interest could cause “all the good things that private equity does [to] go away,” Sommers said.

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a speech at the Trump Soho Hotel in Manhattan, June 22, 2016. Photo courtesy Reuters/Mike Segar