By Miriam Raftery
February 16, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – During his campaign, President Donald Trump criticized his rival, Hillary Clinton, for her ties with Wall Street and high-priced speeches to Goldman Sachs. He promised to protect Americans from Wall Street. But now he’s appointed Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary, a former Goldman Sachs banker who later acquired a failed lender that became One West, known as a “foreclosure machine” for foreclosing on over 36,000 homeowners.
The Senate confirmed Mnuchin by a 53-47 vote, with all but one Democrat voting against, but Republicans pushing through the nomination.
During the swearing in ceremony, Trump claimed that Mnuchin will be a “great champion” for Americans who will “fight for middle-class tax reductions, financial reforms that open up lending and create millions of new jobs,” Reuters reports.
But Steve Rouzer, spokesman for the Main Street Business Alliance representing a coalition of small business owners, issued a statement sent to media including ECM. He called Mnuchin’s confirmation “a return to the failed policies that devastated small businesses and destroyed the economy…An architect of the Great Recession, Mnuchin has a track record of irresponsible economic decisions and can’t be trusted at the helm of the U.S. economy.”
Trump has repeatedly reneged on his campaign promise to `drain the swamp’ by appointing Wall Street executives to senior White House positions and through the President’s executive actions to weaken critical financial protections for consumers and small businesses, notably the Dodd-Frank Act.
Democrats have accused Mnuchin of wrongfully foreclosing on many homeowners following the housing market collapse. "Mr. Mnuchin has made his career profiting from the misfortunes of working people," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. "OneWest was notorious for taking an especially aggressive role in foreclosing on struggling homeowners."
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters has called Mnuchin the “foreclosure king.” So have many others, as Vanity Fair reported -- and concluded was an accurate description of his actions.
Mnuchin also failed to disclose in his Senate confirmation papers his position as Director of Dune Capital International, a financial institution in the Cayman Islands known for providing an off-shore tax haven for corporations or individuals seeking to dodge taxes by hiding assets.
As Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin will advise Trump on economic policies, also overseeing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), imposing economic sanctions on foreign governments and individuals, targeting financial assets of drug cartels and terrorist groups, negotiating tax treaties and issues bonds that finance government spending.