(JTA) — Billionaire George Soros called President-elect Donald Trump a “would-be dictator” who is “going to fail.”
On the eve of Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., Soros said Thursday during a panel discussion in Davos, Switzerland, that Trump was “gearing up for a trade war,” which would have “a very far-reaching effect in Europe and other parts of the world,” Agence-France Presse reported Friday.
The “would-be dictator … didn’t expect to win, he was surprised,” the Hungarian-born financier and Jewish philanthropist told an audience of business leaders and journalists at the site of the World Economic Forum.
“I personally have confidence that he’s going to fail … because his ideas that guide him are inherently self-contradictory,” said Soros, adding that the members of Trump’s Cabinet are each fighting for different interests.
But he predicted the loss of the United States’ “positive influence in the world in favor of an open society,” which would have “a very far-reaching effect in Europe and other parts of the world.”
Soros, who was a supporter of Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, during last year’s campaign, lost nearly a billion dollars as a consequence of the market rally prompted by Trump’s surprise election victory, according to news reports. But the positive reaction in financial markets would not last long, Soros predicted, because ultimately they do not like uncertainty.
U.S. stocks retreated and the dollar fell against most currencies Thursday in the final session before Trump’s inauguration on Friday.
Soros also predicted the failure of British Prime Minister Theresa May, who last year replaced David Cameron following a referendum on whether Britain should stay in the European Union. Cameron, who supported remaining, resigned after a majority voted in favor of a British exit, or Brexit, from the bloc.
Voters were “in denial” about the financial consequences of leaving the European Union, he said.
“It’s unlikely that Prime Minister May is actually going to remain in power,” he added. “The current economic situation is not as bad as it was predicted, they live in hope, but as the currency depreciates, and inflation will be the driving force, that will lead to declining living standards.”