President Donald Trump has done a “fantastic job” of garnering trust on Wall Street through his business-friendly policies, billionaire Vincent Viola told CNBC on Friday.
“Markets are driven by their perception of stability,” said Viola, founder of Virtu Financial, a high-speed trading giant, and Trump’s onetime nominee for secretary of the Army. “The perception of the current state of trust” is in the reliability of the markets, he added.
Trump’s tax policies are also “universally accepted,” said Viola, a West Point alum and Army veteran. “Generally speaking,” he said, “lighter tax burdens promote creativity and courage in the entrepreneurial class.”
“This president has done a fantastic job of heralding trust in terms of his approach to regulation and in terms of his desire to promote a pro-business environment,” Viola said during in an interview on a special edition of “Fast Money Halftime Report” in honor of Veterans Day from the Intrepid aircraft carrier in New York City.
“I would give Trump an A+ in terms of heralding respect, reward, and encouragement for the entrepreneurial class and the business class,” he said. “That’s a fantastic spirit to infuse.
Viola, owner of the Florida Panthers professional hockey team, was nominated by Trump on Inauguration Day to oversee the Army. But two weeks later, Viola withdrew his name from consideration, reportedly due to the complications of unwinding his business interests.
“It was the single greatest failure of my life,” he said. “I wasn’t able to be in that life position where I could do it responsibly, and it’s heartbreaking.” Viola added, “I find ways to serve on a daily basis.”
The stock market has rallied strongly since the Nov. 8, 2016, election, with the Dow Jones industrial average rising more than 27 percent as of Thursday’s close. The S&P 500 is higher by more than 20 percent over the same period, while the Nasdaq is up more than 29 percent.
Trump has claimed credit for the rally in stocks. Some analysts have attributed the market rise to Trump’s planned tax reform and other business-friendly proposals, though others contend they haven’t had a real influence. The Dow closed about 100 points lower on Thursday, but was only still less than 1 percent away from all-time highs.
In addition to Trump, Viola gave some credit for the market’s performance to the monetary policy decisions made since the 2008 financial crisis.