Trump picks from Wall St., D.C.
3 nominees strongly tied to establishment
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump is tapping a trio of nominees with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street to fill out his Cabinet, including former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary.
A transition official said the president-elect and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will travel to Indiana on Thursday for an event with Carrier, the air conditioning company. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly used the news of Carrier’s plans to move some business to Mexico as criticism of Democratic trade policies. Carrier tweeted, “We are pleased to have reached a deal with President-elect Trump & VP-elect Pence to keep close to 1,000 jobs in Indy.”
On Tuesday, Trump also chose Georgia Rep. Tom Price to oversee the nation’s health care system, picking a fierce Obamacare critic who has championed efforts to privatize Medicare. And he selected another veteran Republican, Elaine Chao, to lead the Department of Transportation.
Trump’s team also announced that Seema Verma has been chosen to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Mnuchin, 53, l ed Steve Mnuchin, right, has been tapped for secretary of the Treasury. Among Donald Trump’s other picks are, from top right, Elaine Chao for Transportation, Rep. Tom Price for Health secretary and Seema Verma for Medicare and Medicaid. Trump’s finance operations during the presidential campaign but he has no government experience, which could prove a hurdle in navigating the tricky politics of Washington.
Mnuchin is expected to be joined on Trump’s senior economic team Wilbur Ross, the reputed Commerce Secretary pick. The billionaire investor is considered the “king of bankruptcy” for buying beatendown companies with the potential to deliver profits.
Price, picked to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, helped craft House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare — which Trump opposed in the campaign. Chao, who served under George W. Bush, is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The selections came as Trump spent Tuesday with advisers in Manhattan, racing through meetings as high-profile vacancies loom — none bigger than secretary of state. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, on the shortlist for the nation’s chief diplomat, was to have a private dinner with Trump.
At the same time, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein delivered $3.5 million to the state of Wisconsin to guarantee a recount in one of the states that fueled Trump’s unexpected victory.
Trump has assailed the Green Party effort as a scam and separately has made unsupported claims of voter fraud in other states.
Meanwhile, Price’s selection raised questions about the incoming president’s commitment to Medicare, among other popular programs he repeatedly vowed to preserve before the elec- tion. The Georgia congressman led GOP efforts on Capitol Hill to transform Medicare into a voucherlike system.
Trump did not address Price’s position on Medicare in a statement released by his transition team. The team did not respond to subsequent questions about it.
Trump, in a 2015 interview promoted on his campaign website, pledged not to cut expensive programs that Republicans have fought for years to cut.
He later embraced the GOP concept of turning Medicaid over to the states with a fixed amount of federal “block grant” funding
sweeping Medicare initiative would have to go through Congress with some Democratic support, which would be unlikely.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders charged that Price “has a long history of wanting to do exactly the opposite of what Trump campaigned on.”
Like Price, Chao is wellknown in Washington, having led the Department of Labor for several years.
Her record as labor secretary suggests she would bring a light hand to safety enforcement as transportation secretary.
Both Price and Chao would require Senate confirmation.
The president-elect also met with Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, having met with former CIA director David Petraeus the day before regarding the secretary of state job.
Even as he weighed crucial Cabinet decisions, Trump appeared distracted by outside issues — or eager to create distractions himself. He tweeted that “nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag.” He warned that those who do should face “perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”
Trump offered no context for his message. The Supreme Court has ruled that flag burning is protected by the First Amendment, and Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he doesn’t support Trump’s approach.