Trump Picks Former Goldman Banker Steven Mnuchin As Treasury Secretary, CBS Reports

While it has not been officially confirmed by the Trump transition team, moments ago the NYT reported that – in what had previously been leaked on several occasions on various other outlets most notably the WSJ – former Goldman banker and Soros employee, Steven Mnuchin “a financier with deep roots on Wall Street and in Hollywood but no government experience” is expected to be named Donald J. Trump’s Treasury secretary as soon as Wednesday.


Steven Terner Mnuchin at Trump Tower in Manhattan this month

From the NYT:

Mnuchin, 53, was the national finance chairman for Mr. Trump’s campaign. He began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he became a partner, before creating his own hedge fund, moving to the West Coast and entering the first rank of movie financiers by bankrolling hits like the “X-Men” franchise and “Avatar.”

 

As Treasury secretary, Mr. Mnuchin would play an important role in shaping the administration’s economic policies, including a package of promised tax cuts, increased spending on infrastructure and changes in the terms of foreign trade. He could also help lead any effort to roll back President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and opening to Cuba by reimposing sanctions on Tehran and Havana.

As the NYT adds, his selection fits uneasily with much of Mr. Trump’s campaign rhetoric attacking the financial industry. Mr. Trump, in a campaign ad intended as a closing argument, portrayed the chief executive of Goldman Sachs as the personification of a global elite that the ad said had “robbed our working class.” But, the NYT notes, Mnuchin has said that he agrees with Mr. Trump’s priorities, and he was an early supporter of a candidate who clearly prizes loyalty.

When Mr. Trump won New York’s Republican presidential primary in April, Mr. Mnuchin attended the victory party. The next day, he accepted Mr. Trump’s invitation to become the campaign’s national finance director. A number of Mr. Mnuchin’s friends made comments to various publications expressing shock at the decision. Mr. Mnuchin was unfazed. “Nobody’s going to be, like, ‘Well, why did he do this?’ if I end up in the administration,” he told Bloomberg Businessweek in August.

Some more details for those unfamiliar with Mnuchin:

Mr. Mnuchin, the son of a Goldman Sachs partner, joined the firm after graduating from Yale University. He worked there for 17 years, rising to oversee trading in government securities and mortgage bonds. After leaving Goldman in 2002, he founded Dune Capital Management, a hedge fund named after the dunes near his beach house in the Hamptons.

 

He also started investing in the movie business and bought a house in Bel-Air. He is engaged to the actress Louise Linton, who would be his third wife. He told The Times in May that he has focused in recent years on the “West Coast economy,” although he added that he was not turning his back on Wall Street.

 

Mr. Mnuchin was part of a group that bought the failed California mortgage lender IndyMac from the government in 2009. He became chairman of the company, renamed OneWest, which was ultimately sold to CIT, the nation’s largest small-business lender, in 2015 for more than twice the price the group had paid.

 

During his tenure, OneWest faced allegations that it had foreclosed improperly on some borrowers. Fair-housing groups also filed a complaint with the federal government, alleging that OneWest was not meeting its legal obligation to make loans in minority neighborhoods.

 

Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Trump have known each other for years — not always under the best of circumstances. Mr. Mnuchin’s company helped to finance construction of a Trump project in Chicago. In 2008, Mr. Trump sued Dune and other lenders to extend the loan terms. The parties ultimately settled

* * *

Even though the nomination is still unofficial, moments ago CBS’ reproter Charlie Keye tweeted that it can also confirm that “Trump has chosen financier Steven Mnuchin as his nominee for Treasury Secretary.”

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And just like that the swamp feels a little bit more full.


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