According to Mediaite, the disgraced cryptocurrency figure Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly contemplated a substantial payment of $5 billion to dissuade former President Donald Trump from running in the 2024 presidential election, as detailed in a new book by Michael Lewis. An excerpt published by Reuters sheds light on Bankman-Fried’s exploration of this unconventional idea and his quest to determine the amount necessary to persuade Trump to abandon his presidential bid.
In the book, Lewis writes, “On a separate front, he explained to me, as the plane descended into Washington, he was exploring the legality of paying Donald Trump himself not to run for president.” Lewis further describes how Bankman-Fried’s team had managed to establish a back channel of communication with the Trump operation and returned with the revelation that Trump might indeed be willing to step aside for a sum of $5 billion, or so Bankman-Fried was informed by his team.
During an interview on 60 Minutes, correspondent Jon Wertheim questioned Lewis about why Bankman-Fried never proceeded with the proposed payment. “Why didn’t this happen?” Wertheim inquired. “Why didn’t he follow through?”
Lewis responded, “Well, they were still having these conversations when FTX blew up. So why didn’t it happen? He didn’t have $5 billion anymore.”
This revelation provides a fascinating glimpse into the intricate web of politics and finance, where individuals might contemplate extraordinary financial incentives to influence the course of political events, albeit with varying degrees of feasibility.