The bankers struggled to make themselves clear to the president of the United States.
But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”
“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”
Obama went on to make it clear the banks will change. Which explains why the bankers were so ashen-faced and grim after leaving the meeting when, instead of the normal group hug portrait, they were dumped on the White House lawn and faced a gauntlet of mostly hostile press instead.
Doubtless no one has ever spoken to them that way before.