President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to pick Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross for the positions of the head of the Treasury Department and secretary of commerce respectively has received the backing of the Wall Street, which had initially faced the ire of the Republican on his campaign trail.
“President-elect Trump is putting together an economic team with an impressive record of business accomplishment, a deep understanding of the U.S. and global economy and a clear vision of how to help all Americans share in the nation’s success,” said John Engler, President of Business Roundtable, a conservative group of CEOs of major U.S. corporations , in a press release Wednesday.
Mnuchin, 53, spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs — a firm that was repeatedly called out by Trump as he campaigned — where he worked on complex financial derivatives, later related to the 2008 financial crisis. Wilbur Ross, 79, a member of Business Roundtable from 2003 to 2014, had been nicknamed the “king of bankruptcy” for profiting off of dying industries.
“The Trump economic team is already off to a strong start,” Engler said. “The Roundtable is eager to work with these accomplished leaders to develop the best economic policies that benefit every American.”
Trump’s economy policy is built around tax reform that would introduce competitive rates for businesses and remove barriers that create difficulties for companies to return overseas earnings to the country. The Business Roundtable president praised the move by saying, “They understand that modernizing our outdated, anticompetitive tax system will be the most effective way to produce the economic growth that puts more people to work in good jobs.”
While Mnuchin and Ross have both strongly endorsed promoting U.S. jobs and investment, critics say their appointment shows that Trump has no inclination to “drain the swamp” like he proposed to. In a rare joint statement, Democrats Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren said: “During the campaign, Donald Trump told the American people that he was going to change Washington by taking on Wall Street.”
“Donald Trump's choice for Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, is just another Wall Street insider. That is not the type of change that Donald Trump promised to bring to Washington - that is hypocrisy at its worst.”
While Trump has attacked Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over her close ties to Wall Street, even including a shot of Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein in a television campaign ad, the president-elect has placed several financial insiders like Stephen Bannon and Anthony Scaramucci in important positions.
“We are witnessing the wholesale takeover of government by an extremist faction of the corporate class,” said Robert Weissman, president of public policy group Public Citizen, according to Agence France Presse.