OMAHA, Neb. — Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Monday touted the support of investor Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest people in the world, in order to try to take Donald Trump down a peg in the presidential race.
The “Oracle of Omaha” went directly after Trump, dismissing the Republican real estate magnate’s excuse for not releasing his tax returns. Trump has cited an ongoing audit when asked if he would follow the presidential-campaign tradition of releasing tax documents.
“I would like to make him an offer I hope he can’t refuse,” Buffett told Clinton’s supporters at a rally. “I’ve got news for him. I’m under audit, too, and I would be delighted to meet him any time, any place, between now and the election. I will bring my tax returns. He can bring his tax returns … and just let people ask us questions about the items that are on there.”
Buffett then asked the crowd, “How many of you would be afraid to have your tax returns made public?”
“You’re only afraid if you’ve got something to be afraid of. … He’s not afraid because of the IRS. He’s afraid because of you,” Buffett said. “I will meet him in Omaha or Mar-a-Lago. He can pick the place,” he continued.
The rally on Monday marked the second time in less than a week that the Clinton campaign has brought out a billionaire far richer than Trump to criticize the GOP nominee. During last week’s Democratic National Convention, media mogul and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg fiercely criticized Trump’s candidacy.
Buffett also bashed Trump on various other topics at the Omaha event. He pointed to Trump’s claim at the Republican National Convention that he knows the system better than anyone and he “alone can fix it.” Buffett responded to this by saying, “Well, la-di-da.”
“It takes some kind of nerve or something else to really have the notion that you’re the only one out of 325 million people who can fix it,” said Buffett.
Buffett continued by addressing Trump’s comments about the Khan family. Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim American soldier who heroically died in Iraq, spoke at last week’s DNC and blasted Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from entering the country. Khan said Trump had sacrificed nothing for the freedoms he enjoyed. In turn, Trump cited his business success as a sacrifice and questioned why Khan’s wife stood silently at his side — leading to days of additional controversy.
“No member of the Buffett family has gone to Iraq or Afghanistan. No member of the Trump family has gone to Iraq or Afghanistan,” Buffett said. “We’ve both done extremely well during this period and our families haven’t sacrificed anything,” he added.
The Nebraska billionaire then said he wanted to “make a little news” that would be “a surprise even to Hillary.” He admitted that voters in certain states with large partisan majorities couldn’t have much impact in the electoral college. However, Buffett pointed out that Nebraska is a “very special place” because it awards electoral votes by congressional district instead of allocating them all to the winner of the statewide vote. Citing analyses that predict a potential electoral college tie, Buffett said the local Omaha-based second congressional district, which Democrats won in 2008, could be what puts Clinton in the White House if the November election is tight.
“We’re going to help that process along this time. I have pledged today that on Election Day, … I will take at least 10 people to the polls who would otherwise have difficulty getting there,” Buffett said.
Along with his own efforts to increase turnout, Buffett announced the launch of a website, Drive2Vote.org, where people can register to join him in helping voters in Nebraska’s second district get to the polls. Buffett said he has already rented a trolley that seats 32 people to help him transport people to polling stations.
“I’m going to be on it all day. I’m going to do selfies, whatever it takes,” Buffett said.
Clinton took the stage after Buffett’s introduction and called him a personal friend. She also made her own pitch to the locals.
She joked that if the congressional district “has the highest percentage of voters in any potential district” come November, “Warren and I will dance in the streets of Omaha!”
Additional contributions by Colin Campbell.
This post was updated at 8:59 p.m. with additional details from Clinton’s speech.