It looks like Carl Icahn, a longtime associate of President Trump, got a heads-up about Trump’s new tariff on imported steel.
On Friday, Think Progress reported on an overlooked SEC filing from February 22, in which Icahn abruptly sold off 1 million shares of stock in Manitowoc Company, Inc., which makes cranes and other construction equipment that requires lots of steel to build. Icahn’s strategic sale of Manitowoc stock came exactly a week before Trump announced he would be levying a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and aluminum in an effort to boost the American manufacturing sector.
Following Trump’s announcement, the Dow Jones dropped by more than 400 points, with financial experts calling the new tariff the first shot across the bow of a global trade war with manufacturing powerhouses like China. Manitowoc, in particular, saw its stock price drop from $32 to $34 per share when Icahn sold his stake in the company last week, to less than $27 per share as of Friday morning, according to Think Progress.
Conversely, Reuters reported that American steel and aluminum companies like US Steel, AK Steel Holding Corp. and Century Aluminum Co all saw gains in the stock market after Trump announced the tariff.
Icahn, who has a net worth of approximately $17 billion, was the former owner of the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, Icahn put the casino up for sale last year after it shut down due to its lack of profitability. Icahn told reporters that he had lost approximately $300 million running the casino, which opened in 1990, and would be “delighted” to sell the property for just half that amount.
The billionaire investor previously held a role in the Trump White House as the president’s advisor on regulations. However, he left his position amid a report that he personally profited from the role, as he still kept his businesses intact while working to gut regulations on business. Icahn was subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York in late 2017, after the Department of Justice announced it was investigating whether or not Icahn illegally profited from his own regulatory decisions.
Michael Boone is a freelance journalist and columnist writing about politics, government, race, and media. He graduated from Texas Southern University’s School of Communication, and lives in Houston’s Third Ward.