, the billionaire investor and liberal donor, sat in his hotel suite by Lake Zurich last week, lamenting the turn much of the world has taken in recent years: “Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.”
His favored presidential candidate, , lost to President, whose “America First” platform runs counter to the globalism Soros embraces. , he said, “is willing to destroy the world.” The , which Soros once hoped would be so successful that he could end his charitable work in the region, is contending with the impending loss of Britain and a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment. And Soros himself has emerged as a political target in elections from Hungary to California, where his donations have been used as a cudgel against the causes he supports.
The 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, who has poured much of his fortune into promoting liberal values around the globe, is now confronting a wave of nationalist sentiment washing against issues he has championed.
But rather than recede from public life in his twilight years, Soros has decided to push even harder for his agenda, he told The Washington Post in a rare interview.
“The bigger the danger, the bigger the threat, the more I feel engaged to confront it,” Soros said Thursday. Wearing an open-collar shirt, he spoke animatedly for an hour, sitting at a table in his suite after an appearance at a conference.
Confronting brick walls
Soros’ willingness to remain in the fray comes as he faces renewed vilification from a wide-ranging group of opponents that includes actress Roseanne Barr and Russian President . He has been accused of being an all-powerful puppet master, a Nazi sympathizer and the person controlling the .
He acknowledges that the attacks can blunt his impact.
“It makes it very difficult for me to speak effectively because it can be taken out of context and used against me,” Soros said.
For all the billions of dollars at his disposal, Soros is also being forced to reckon with limits on his political influence in the United States. He acknowledged that he did not see Trump’s election coming. “Apparently, I was living in my own bubble,” he said.
Soros, who plans to spend at least $15 million in 2018 races, has already faced some setbacks this cycle. His bid to replace several district attorneys in California with challengers seeking changes to the criminal justice system was largely unsuccessful in Tuesday’s elections. “We ran into a brick wall in California,” he said.
Soros said he is certain in his assessment of Trump, whom he describes as a “narcissist” who “considers himself all-powerful.”