At least four senior executives with international bankers Goldman Sachs will get critical posts in the Donald Trump administration—even though he campaigned fiercely against that institution, with his closing campaign ad using an image of that company’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein to condemn the “global power structure” for robbing America’s working class and enriching the elite.
A screenshot from Trump’s closing campaign TV ad which depicted Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein as part of the globalist enemy.
The Goldman Sachs appointments are not the first indication that Trump has no intention of “draining the swamp” in Washington D.C. either.
Former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin served as Trump’s national finance chairman and is now Trump’s nominee for U.S. Treasury secretary.
Trump has also nominated Goldman Sachs President (and the bank’s de facto number two) Gary Cohn as his top economic adviser in the White House.
Other Goldman alums in Trump’s inner circle include Anthony Scaramucci, a former Goldman banker and a member of the Trump transition team’s executive committee, as well as Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign manager.
Trump’s campaign ad described Goldman Sachs as part of “a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”
As the Bloomberg news service has pointed out, after “years as the face of Wall Street greed and the target of public scorn, the bankers at Goldman Sachs can be cheerful again.
“Not only has Trump’s election stoked hopes for looser regulatory policies that will make it easier for banks to take bigger risks and book fatter profits, but Goldman also appears to have regained its place at the nexus between Wall Street and Washington,” Bloomberg wrote.
During his election campaign, Trump attacked Republican rival Ted Cruz and Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for their ties to Goldman Sachs.
Clinton famously pocketed $675,000 for three private speeches to Goldman employees. (Blankfein was a Clinton supporter.) Cruz’s wife worked at Goldman Sachs, and he had taken a loan from the bank to help fund his campaign.
“I know the guys at Goldman Sachs,” Trump said last February. “They have total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.”
Trump also often referenced Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs, accusing her of meeting “in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty.”
“After being largely cut out of the federal government during the Obama years, with few of its alums tapped for big jobs, Goldman is starting to live up to its former nickname, Government Sachs,” the Bloomberg news service added, pointing out that “If confirmed, Mnuchin will be the third former Goldman partner to lead the Department of the Treasury in the past 25 years, joining Robert Rubin and Hank Paulson.”
Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein has already returned the favor, telling media that Trump “may turn out to be a much better president” than many expect and that his firm will benefit if Trump succeeds in stimulating the economy.
The Washington Post noted that Trump was not actually “draining the swamp” as he had said during the election campaign, but was actually “diving straight in” and had turned to Washington D.C. insiders to start filling his administration positions.
That paper said that “so far, the president-elect is tapping people with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street as he fills out his Cabinet, turning to two power centers he vilified as greedy, corrupt and out of touch with Americans during his White House campaign.”
The Washington Post said that “two of Trump’s early picks are wealthy financial industry insiders with ties to the kinds of institutions he railed against as a candidate.”
“Elaine Chao, his choice for transportation secretary and an accomplished political figure in her own right, is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—blending family and political power in a way Trump fiercely criticized campaign rival Hillary Clinton for.”
Chao is the offspring of a Chinese shipping magnate, in addition to serving on the boards of Wells Fargo bank, Dole Food, and News Corp., the parent of Fox News.
Trump’s transition team brushed aside questions about whether there are inconsistencies between the president-elect’s campaign rhetoric and his Cabinet picks.
“These are experts who know how to win,” spokesman Jason Miller told the Washington Post.