Trump has tapped his campaign finance chairman and Goldman Sachs veteran Steven Mnuchin for secretary of Treasury, US sources report. Billionaire Willbur Ross is set to take over the Department of Commerce.
The president-elect recruited the two Wall Street insiders for top economic jobs in his cabinet, news agencies reported on Wednesday. Their appointments have not yet been officially announced.
Mnuchin, set to become Treasury Secretary, has no previous government experience. He has spent 17 years in the notorious US bank Goldman Sachs, leaving it in 2002 to launch a hedge fund. He bought a failed California mortgage lender in 2009 and turned it into a profitable OneWest Bank. Housing advocacy groups, however, accuse the bank of being too quick to foreclose on homeowners.
The 53-year-old investor also managed a hedge fun for billionaire and Trump opponent George Soros, and helped finance several major blockbuster movies, including "American Sniper," "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "Suicide Squad." Mnuchin joined Trump's camp in April as the national finance manager and raised millions for the campaign.
Even so, his ties to Goldman Sachs might prove a bitter pill for Trump supporters, as many Americans still blame the bank for the 2008 financial crash.
'King of bankruptcy'
If Mnuchin is confirmed by the Republican-dominated Senate, he will take on the key responsibilities in enacting Trump's financial policy, including the promised tax cuts, infrastructure investments, and reshaping of foreign trade agreements.
He is likely to be joined by Willbur Ross as the new secretary of commerce. The 78-year-old Ross is another staunch Trump supporter and has influenced his positions of trade policy, especially the criticism of the NAFTA accord with Canada and Mexico.
Ross was nicknamed "king of bankruptcy" for buying, restructuring and then selling off troubled companies. He is just one of several billionaires tapped for Trump's cabinet.
Diplomacy and defense up for grabs
On Tuesday, Trump also announced an outspoken Obamacare critic Tom Price as health and human services secretary and Elaine Chao as secretary of transportation.
The next US president is still mulling over his picks for the key positions of secretary of state and secretary of defense. Trump has met with Republican moderate Mitt Romney, retired General David Petraeus and several others while considering the next State Department chief. According to media reports, the leading candidate for defense secretary is retired Marine General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis.
dj/gsw (Reuters, AP, AFP)