Republican powerbrokers: the private Mercer family that bets on Trump

He is a reclusive hedge fund billionaire who made a fortune using complicated algorithms to bet on things other people could not see. One of his gambles was on Donald Trump. And his backing of the long-shot presidential candidate has made Robert “Bob” Mercer, the former co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, the top powerbroker in Republican politics today. The Mercer family is not nearly as well known as the industrialist Koch brothers or the Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson when it comes to supporting right-wing causes in the United States. And they are more than happy to keep it that way. Mercer, 71, who worked as a computer scientist at IBM before joining Long Island-based Renaissance Technologies, has always shunned the limelight. According to numerous accounts, Mercer is socially awkward and intensely private. He is described in Michael Wolff’s bombshell new book “Fire and Fury” as “almost nonverbal, looking at you with a dead stare and either not talking or offering only minimal response.” In November, Robert Mercer abruptly announced that he was stepping down as co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies because of the unwanted press scrutiny brought about by his political activities. In his resignation letter, Mercer also made his most expansive public comments to date, outlining the core principles of his libertarian philosophy. Advocate of small government “I believe that individuals are happiest and most fulfilled when they form their own opinions, assume responsibility for their own actions, and spend the fruits of their own labor as they… [Read full story]


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