In her letter, Warren said if Trump intends to keep his promise to voters to “drain the swamp” and rid it of “powerful special interests” that “rigged” the political and economic systems against the average American, he needs to start by reevaluating his own transition team. Although Trump promised he would not be a puppet to lobbyists or special interests or donors – something that struck a cord with many voters – he has since elevated to his team a number of industry insiders, special interest lobbyists, wealthy investors and Wall Street bankers. Several more are reported to be on the short list of possible cabinet members.
For example, the reported top recommendation for treasury secretary is a hedge fund manager and partner at Goldman Sachs, who once worked for George Soros. The proposed commerce secretary is a billionaire private equity executive who owned a coal mine with hundreds of safety violations before an explosion killed a dozen miners. He’s also a top member of a Wall Street fraternity that, according to New York Magazine, finds entertainment in singing drunken show tunes that mock poor people. These are exactly the kind of people Trump vowed he was running against.
And of course, there is Steve Bannon, who has drawn all sorts of ire. As the executive chairman of Breitbart, Bannon has overseen content that includes regularly white nationalist viewpoints. Bigotry, Warren made it clear, should have no place in The White House. Comparing the presidency to one of Trump’s companies, Warrens said, “Bigotry is bad for business.”
Not to mention, all of these choices contradict Trump’s promises to shake up the establishment in Washington. She specifically called out among Wall Street insiders were:
- David Malpass, in charge of setting the stage for the new Treasure Department. He’s the former Bear Stearns chief economist who said that housing and debt markets “are not that big a part of the U.S. economy or of job creation.”
- Paul Atkins, former SEC Commissioner who Warren said didn’t do his job in the run-up to the financial crisis and who is now being tapped to help decide who the new commissioner should be.
- Steve Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs vice president who made millions off mortgage foreclosures and is believed to be a consideration for Treasury Secretary position.
- Lewis Eisenberg, who a former chief of a large private equity firm who worked as a Goldman Sachs partner until he had to resign for sexual harassment. He’s being considered as a top pick for Secretary of Commerce.
In all, Warren called out 22 lobbyists, corporate insiders and Wall Street insiders. Trump had promised back in January to protect consumer rights, vowing he would not allow Wall Street to “get away with murder.” However, his top picks suggest otherwise.
Although Trump is under no obligation to follow Warren’s admonishments, he risks further alienation not just of the majority of voters who cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton, but also those who supported him based on the promises he made on the campaign trail.
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Open Letter to President-Elect Donald J. Trump, Nov. 15, 2016, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
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