Donald Trump's economic speech received a vote of approval from a major business voice Tuesday, as billionaire Carl Icahn said the Republican's economic prescriptions were "right on" and predicted that they could carry Trump to victory.
"If he sticks with that economic theme he should definitely win hands down," Icahn said in an interview with CNBC. "Because I don't know why you wouldn't vote for him."
Icahn, the 80 year-old billionaire activist investor whose endorsement Trump has frequently touted, said Trump's economic speech was "exactly right on."
"Our country can't exist when the government is at war with business, and that's exactly what we have," Icahn added, arguing that business leaders are afraid to invest in their companies because of regulators.
In a statement posted to his personal site, Icahn added more detail to his support for Trump's agenda.
"I never thought I would say this but we cannot blame even mediocre CEOs for not investing when they have to face regulators that are scaring the hell out of them," he wrote. "Instead they borrow at near zero interest rates and buy back stock."
The billionaire worried that manufacturing will disappear and all the U.S. will create is "more text messages and more tweets to send to each other.... The Fed will just keep lending money at zero interest rates until the bubble bursts and we go over the proverbial cliff."
On Monday, Trump laid out a series of pro-business platform planks in a speech in Detroit, including a moratorium on regulations and a business tax rate cut.
Icahn acknowledged that Trump has run into difficulty in recent weeks, with his poll numbers dropping amid a long-running feud with the Gold Star Khan family, the Pakistani-American couple whose son Humayan, an Army captain, was killed fighting for the U.S. in Iraq.
Icahn argued that middle-class families feeling economic insecurity would turn to Trump if he promotes his economic speech.
The "Archie Bunkers of the world" will vote for Trump because "they know they're getting screwed" in the current system, he said, referring to the 1970s sitcom character viewed as a likeable bigot.
Trump, at times throughout his campaign, has suggested that Icahn might play a lead role in economic policy in his administration if he is elected. Icahn has endorsed Trump but at other times distanced himself from the campaign. He is not on Trump's economic advisory team.
Carl Icahn's net worth is estimated at $17.2 billion by Forbes.