Trump Keeps Filling His Swamp With Goldman Sachs Cronies

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Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election has stunned people around the country, but his cabinet could prove to be even worse.

President-elect Donald Trump might claim to be the knight in gold-plated armor that America has been yearning for, but he’s not coming alone.

In fact, he’s bringing with him a motley crew of racists, chauvinists, philanderers, and Wall Street cronies who will make up his administration and haunt our dreams for the next four years.

Here are just some of the people that have been named, and some that might be named, in the coming Trump Administration.

Director of The National Economic Council

Gary Cohn
For Trump, Goldman Sachs is the well that keeps on giving.

The president-elect has offered Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn the position of National Economic Council director.

If Cohn accepts the position, he will be joining Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon as the third Goldman Sachs alum to join the Trump administration.

Earlier this year, the infamous financial firm admitted to knowingly deceiving investors to buy stocks with bad credit ratings in the lead up to the financial crisis of 2008 and was imposed with a $5 billion fine by the Justice Department, according to The Guardian.

As head of the NEC, Cohn would hold immense power over the direction of White House economic policy.

Both Democrats and Republicans are pointing out that Trump is elevating those at the top of the very Wall Street firm he railed against during his campaign.

Cohn's appointment is yet another sign that the agenda of Trump’s presidency will be far from the populist rhetoric that propelled him to power. Consequently, his supporters are in for a major reality check. 

Treasury Secretary

Steve Mnuchin

Trump has announced Steve Mnuchin as secretary of Treasury.

While he might be less of a household name than others, Trump’s finance chair spent 17 years at Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs before leaving in 2002.

Mnuchin ran Goldman's mortgage-backed bond trading desk, which was at the heart of the financial crisis of 2008 that nearly sank the United States economy. 

Bloomberg has reported that Mnuchin was sued in 2010 by a trustee seeking to recoup Bernie Madoff investors’ losses from customers who had withdrawn more money from his firm than they had invested. 

Madoff, of course, was convicted of operating what the New York Times called, “the largest, longest and most widespread Ponzi scheme in history.” 

The suit against him was however dropped last year because of time restrictions imposed on the Madoff trustee, Irving Picard, in a ruling that allowed hundreds of customers to keep about $2 billion in stolen money.

According to Picard, $3.2 million of the Mnuchin family’s withdrawal was fake profit that belonged to other investors.

Immediately after he was named to head the U.S. Treasury, Mnuchin promised early tax reform with tax cuts for corporations and the middle class.

Trump's choice for Treasury secretary is typically hypocritical, as during the campaign he often attacked Wall Street. He's complained that hedge fund managers get away with "murder" under the current tax code.

The Washington Post reported that he "once called JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon 'the worst banker in the United States' and often said his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton was too cozy with the financial industry."

His appointment, according to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), "should send shivers down the spine of every American who got hit hard by the financial crisis."

Mnuchin, she added, "is the Forrest Gump of the financial crisis — he managed to participate in all the worst practices on Wall Street."

Commerce Secretary

Trump has named The 78-year-old Wilbur Ross as his Commerce secretary.

The New York billionaire and chair of a W.L. Ross & Co, a private equity firm known for buying up failed businesses, is known as "the king of bankruptcy" in financial circles. 

Ross made his fortune restructuring struggling industrial operations, like steel mills and coal mines, but his approach has been criticized for costing people their jobs — and in the case of the 2006 Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia, their lives. 

In the 1990s, he was the head of Rothschild & Co.'s bankruptcy advisory business in New York and as the Dallas Morning news reported, was the architect of  the bankruptcy deal for Trump's Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.  

Formerly a Democrat, Ross has been a loyal Trump supporter who shares his skepticism about trade agreements and told CNBC during an interview in June that the U.S. needs a "more radical, new approach to government."

Attorney General

Sen. Jeff Sessions

Trump has nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next attorney general of the United States.

The Huffington Post reported that the 69-year-old is currently serving his fourth term in the Senate term and was the first sitting senator to endorse Trump.

Sessions played a key role in helping the Republican establishment to accept Trump as the leader of their party. But as with many of Trump’s cabinet picks, he does not come without significant baggage.  

Almost 30 years ago, Sessions was denied a federal judgeship when he was a U.S. attorney in Alabama for making racist remarks and calling the NAACP and ACLU "un-American."

According to CNN, Thomas Figures, a black assistant U.S. attorney who worked for Sessions, testified that on many occasions he was known to muse about the Ku Klux Klan, saying that he thought Klan members were "OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana."

National Security Advisor

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn

A major critic of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy, Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has been named as Trump's national security advisor. 

The hawkish general has been Trump’s national security adviser throughout the campaign and was also a major contender for the vice presidency before Trump chose Mike Pence.

Flynn was the first to break ranks among military officials to endorse Trump and U.S. officials find his friendly ties to Russia extremely troubling.

Previously, he headed the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired from his post in 2014.

According to Politico, he has publicly advocated for better relations with Russia and recently sat at the head table at a dinner in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin.

The Daily Beast also reported that Flynn was receiving classified national security briefings while he was running a private consulting firm offering “all source intelligence support” to foreign clients.

Director of Central Intelligence 

Mike Pompeo

Republican Representative from Kanas, Mike Pompeo, has been tapped to lead the CIA by the president-elect. 

According to the New York Times, Pompeo has served three terms in Congress and is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Pompeo was a major critic of Hillary Clinton and was largely known for his role in the congressional investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

According to his congressional website, the 52-year-old graduated first in his class at West Point and “served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

After leaving the military, Pompeo graduated from Harvard Law School and returned to Kansas, where he went into business and became president of Sentry International, which his website describes as an “equipment manufacturing, distribution and service company.”

He, along with John Bolton, has echoed Trump’s criticism of the Iran Nuclear Deal signed by the Obama administration. Following the news of his appointment, he tweeted:

 

White House Chief Of Staff

Reince Priebus

Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, may have had the most difficult job other than Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway.

According to The Washington Post  Priebus, who did an admirable job of walking the fine line between supporting the party’s candidate and disavowing his controversial — and sometimes outright offensive — remarks, has been offered the role of chief of staff to run the Trump White House.

Without any significant organization, the Trump campaign relied heavily on Priebus’ leadership at the RNC to manage the nuts-and-bolts of Trump’s data, field, and finance operations.

As a key ally of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, he may also prove useful in healing any friction between Trump and Ryan.

White House strategist and senior counselor

Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon might be the most terrifying pick that Trump could make.

The chief executive of Trump’s election campaign and former CEO of the crusading right-wing populist website Breitbart News has remained in the background during the election season, but has now been brought into the mainstream as the chief strategist for the Trump administration.

An example of Bannon’s influence on Trump’s campaign was apparent when Trump trotted out Bill Clinton’s former accusers for a press conference just hours before the second presidential debate.

Bannon is a self-proclaimed leader of the extreme alt-right, which has made its name by indulging in racism, sexism, and homophobia.

His appointment has been celebrated by the KKK and vociferously protested by the Democrats, while Republicans have chosen to stay neutral on the matter. 

As the Trump transition team announces more appointments in the days to come, be sure to keep checking back for the latest on Trump's picks for his administration. 

Secretary of State

John Bolton

The former ambassador to the United Nations is said to top the list for secretary of state.

Known as one of the most sociopathic warmongers on the planet and a key member of George W. Bush’s neo-conservative administration, this is a truly terrifying prospect.

There isn’t a war he has not cheerleaded, or a country that he does not want to bomb, apart from Israel perhaps. 

Bolton being America’s chief diplomat is a curious — read ridiculous — pick considering that much of the foreign policy sketched out by the president-elect calls for America to stay away from costly interventions.

For years, he has advocated that the United States should support a push for regime change in Iran, calling it the “only long-term solution” to threats the country poses in the Middle East.

This despite the fact that Iran had no role in the 9/11 attacks, has not invaded another in country in the past 200 years, and just signed a historic nuclear deal that would significantly limit its ability to attain nuclear weapons for at least 25 years. 

 

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani, the former federal prosecutor and New York mayor, has attached himself to Trump like a forest leech and was set to be in the running for attorney general or even FBI director but is now a major contender for secretary of state. 

His ranting interlude on the podium at the Republican convention this summer had many worried he would give himself a heart attack, and definitely seeded doubts about his mental state.

After the first presidential debate, he couldn’t help himself from accusing Clinton as an enabler of her husbands’ infidelities. It was rich considering the tabloid origins of his relationship with his current wife, Judith Nathan. Reasonable people will recall how Giuliani abused his mayoral privileges to pursue their affair while he was still living with his then wife, Gracie Mansion.

 

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who has proved himself to be a rabid Trump surrogate and was on the shortlist for the vice presidency, may be among the top contenders for Hillary Clinton’s last role as secretary of state.

The former Speaker of the House, whose past infidelities and messy divorces have long been fixtures in the press, famously divorced his first wife Jackie Battley in 1981. Battley later revealed that Gingrich discussed divorce terms with her while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. Classy!

Gingrich has also acknowledged cheating on his second wife, Marianne Ginther, while he was leading the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton for allegations of perjury involving the Monica Lewinsky affair.

He recently went off the rails in an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and accused her of being “fascinated with sex” for covering Trump’s Access Hollywood tape scandal.

That this man could be America’s chief diplomat is a scandal on its own.

Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is probably the most tragic figure in the Republican Party right now. The straight-talking governor was once a heavy favorite for the Republican nomination until Trump upset the cart.

He was the first former presidential candidate to endorse Trump, despite having claimed that he was unfit for the job.

Christie's reputation further suffered after his facial expressions and overall demeanor on Super Tuesday, made him a laughing stock for some people on social media who wondered if he was regretting his decision to endorse Donald Trump.

According to NBC News, he  was ostensibly poised to head Trump’s transition team, but the Bridgegate scandal clouding over him has all but certainly dashed those hopes.

James Woolsey

James Woolsey

James Woolsey is a former Central Intelligence Agency director who led the CIA from 1993 until 1995 under President Bill Clinton.

Woolsey joined the Trump campaign back in September, telling CNN that he supported the GOP nominee for president, but added the caveat that he sees himself as an adviser more than a political operative.

In recent years, Woolsey has worked with Republicans, advising Gingrich during his 2012 bid for the White House, and in 2008 worked with Sen. John McCain.

Yet he’s been critical of Trump’s notion that more countries should have access to nuclear weapons and also criticized Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

At the same time, Woolsey is also not a fan of the Obama administration’s reluctance to assess the scope of the “threat of radical Islamic terrorism.”

But of all the people on Trump’s list of possible cabinet members, he might be the sanest, which is the scary part.  

Press Secretary

Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity, the insufferable Fox News anchor, has been an unrelenting cheerleader for a Trump presidency. The smuggest man in the entire media landscape was the only anchor Trump trusted in the final days and weeks up to the election.

Hannity’s fawning coverage of Trump's campaign is now continuing as a daily gloating session. It's not a stretch to believe that Trump would want to tap his lap dog to be the mouthpiece of his administration.

Unfortunately, he is unlikely to leave his supposed $30 million annual salary at Fox News.

Banner Photo: Reuters

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