One of President Joe Biden’s closest friends in the Senate last month placed a large financial bet against the U.S. economy, records show.
Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, disclosed this week that his wife on July 13 purchased up to $95,000 in shares of Ranger Equity Bear ETF and ProShares Short QQQ. The funds short stocks as a hedge against economic downturns. The Carpers placed a similar bearish bet on the economy last year with the purchase of up to $110,000 in Ranger Equity Bear ETC, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
The trades suggest Carper, who once punched his former wife in the face hard enough to give her a black eye, holds a far more negative view of the economy than he publicly admits. On May 25, Carper said that "thanks to POTUS, our economy is resilient and growing stronger every day." Months earlier, on October 7, he attributed a "huge" increase in jobs to Biden’s "leadership." Carper is a staunch Biden ally—the pair made up Delaware's Senate delegation from 2001 to 2009, and Carper routinely calls Biden a "dear friend." When Carper in May announced his retirement from the Senate, Biden called him a "friend" and "trusted colleague" who has exhibited "tireless dedication to the people of Delaware."
While job numbers have remained high, there are signs that economic trouble looms on the horizon. Credit rating agency Fitch downgraded the U.S. government’s credit rating on Tuesday, citing "fiscal deterioration" and "eroded confidence in fiscal management." The downgrade, the agency’s first since 1994, sent stocks tumbling on Wednesday.
Carper’s office has previously downplayed the senator's stock transactions, claiming that the family’s financial adviser "independently" carries out transactions.
"Senator Carper and his wife, Martha, have always been careful to ensure that their financial investments are handled separately by a financial adviser who makes decisions and transactions independently," a spokeswoman for Carper told the Free Beacon in November.
Carper’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the latest transactions.
Carper has faced scrutiny before over his stock portfolio. He held up to $685,000 in shares of energy companies while serving on the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Free Beacon reported.