Financier Steven Mnuchin to be Trump's Treasury boss

news
01 December 2016

Steven Mnuchin  (pronounced mi-NEW-chin), a financier with deep roots in Wall Street and Hollywood but no government experience, is expected to be named Donald J Trump's Treasury secretary, reports on Wednesday said.

Mnuchin, 53, was the national finance chairman for Trump's campaign, and his selection would elevate a wealthy loyalist to a pivotal economic post. 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.

If confirmed, Mnuchin would play a critical role in carrying out Trump's promised economic policy changes, including the enactment of a large package of tax cuts, sweeping changes to foreign trade agreements and the fulfilment of a huge new infrastructure spending programme. He could also help lead any efforts to roll back President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran and the administration's opening to Cuba by reimposing sanctions on Tehran and Havana.

Mnuchin's selection fits uneasily with much of Trump's campaign attacks on the financial industry. 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''.

The selection of Mnuchin came as Trump moved on Tuesday to fill the ranks of his domestic policy team with seasoned Washington insiders chosen to help smooth the way in Congress for his two marquee campaign promises: the repeal of Obama's health insurance coverage law and the large package to repair infrastructure, which could reach $1 trillion.

Trump also took time Tuesday night to have dinner with Mitt Romney, whose name has been mentioned as a potential secretary of state, and who has become a source of contention among members of the transition team.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who called Trump a ''phony'' and a ''fraud'' during the Republican primaries, sat down for a four-course meal Tuesday night at Jean-Georges, a three-star Michelin restaurant at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Manhattan.

Romney emerged several hours later to heap compliments on the president-elect, who has bristled privately that Romney never apologised for insulting him during the race.

There was no apology, but Romney said he had been impressed by Trump's victory speech on election night, his transition effort and his personnel decisions.

''He did something I tried to do and was unsuccessful in accomplishing: he won the general election,'' Romney told reporters.

The appointments on Tuesday included Elaine L Chao - a veteran of past Republican administrations who is married to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader - as transportation secretary. She will be charged with steering the infrastructure initiative through a divided Congress and the federal bureaucracy.

Trump also announced that he would nominate Representative Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, a physician who has been a fierce opponent of the Obamacare, as his secretary of health and human services - tasked with leading his efforts to dismantle the measure.

And Trump will also announce Wilbur Ross, the billionaire investor, as his secretary of commerce, according to the transition team.

 





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