Trump as­sem­bling ‘Cab­i­net of win­ners’

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY S.A. MILLER

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump was al­ready clos­ing a deal to keep U.S. work­ers em­ployed at the Car­rier air con­di­tioner plant in In­di­ana as he stacked his Cab­i­net with Wall Street ti­tans Wed­nes­day, cre­at­ing the most busi­ness-friendly White House that Amer­ica has seen in a long time.

Trump tran­si­tion of­fi­cials boasted that the Car­rier deal was an early down pay­ment on his cam­paign prom­ises to re­store man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs and that his team — namely Trea­sury sec­re­tary nom­i­nee Steve Mnuchin and com­merce sec­re­tary nom­i­nee Wil­bur Ross — had the busi­ness savvy nec­es­sary to help kick the U.S. econ­omy into over­drive.

Mr. Trump was as­sem­bling a “Cab­i­net of win­ners,” said Trump tran­si­tion spokesman Ja­son Miller.

“The key theme with all the an­nounce­ments today is bring­ing into the ad­min­is­tra­tion the framers of the pres­i­dent-elect’s eco­nomic pop­ulist mes­sage about how we make good deals

for Amer­i­can work­ers [and] how we are go­ing to im­prove the lives of Amer­i­can fam­i­lies,” he told re­porters on a con­fer­ence call.

The moves were in keep­ing with Mr. Trump’s agenda of cut­ting taxes, slash­ing reg­u­la­tions and mak­ing bet­ter trade deals in an ef­fort to boost busi­ness, jobs and the econ­omy.

So far, busi­nesses are re­spond­ing fa­vor­ably to the pres­i­dent-elect.

Since Mr. Trump’s up­set elec­tion win Nov. 8, a rally across global mar­kets has pushed the Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age, the S&P 500 and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite si­mul­ta­ne­ously into record ter­ri­tory.

Still, the nom­i­na­tions of Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Ross, who are Wall Street bil­lion­aires, quickly met op­po­si­tion from Demo­cratic law­mak­ers and lib­eral ac­tivists who ac­cused Mr. Trump of break­ing his vow to stand up to Wall Street and fight the cor­rupt­ing in­flu­ences of spe­cial in­ter­ests.

Mr. Mnuchin took the brunt of the crit­i­cism be­cause of his 17-year ca­reer at Gold­man Sachs and his role in the hous­ing cri­sis.

His firm, Dune Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, teamed with other in­vestors in 2009 to buy failed mort­gage lender IndyMac, one of the big­gest ca­su­al­ties of the hous­ing bust, and re­name it OneWest. By the time OneWest was sold to CIT Group in 2015, it faced a slew of law­suits ac­cus­ing it of fraud­u­lent home fore­clo­sure prac­tices.

“Pres­i­dent-elect Trump is hand­ing over the keys to the same play­ers who drove our econ­omy into a ditch,” said House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat. “Hard­work­ing Amer­i­can fam­i­lies de­serve a Trea­sury sec­re­tary who will place their in­ter­ests above those of Wall Street.”

Mrs. Pelosi never spoke out, how­ever, against nu­mer­ous mem­bers of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion with ties to Wall Street, such as Mark A. Pat­ter­son, a for­mer Gold­man Sachs man­ag­ing direc­tor who served as Trea­sury chief of staff from 2009 un­til 2015.

Mrs. Pelosi’s of­fice did not re­spond to ques­tions about her new­found op­po­si­tion to Wall Street re­sumes.

The lib­eral Pro­gres­sive Change Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, which has spo­ken out against Wall Street’s in­flu­ence on both sides of the aisle, also took is­sue with Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Ross.

“Ross is a Wall Street vul­ture who made bil­lions by slash­ing jobs, shred­ding pen­sions, strip­ping health care from thou­sands of work­ers, and rolling back safety reg­u­la­tions at his com­pa­nies which caused min­ers to die,” the cam­paign com­mit­tee said in a state­ment.

Mr. Ross, known for turn­ing around flag­ging com­pa­nies, has been an eco­nomic ad­viser to Mr. Trump and helped craft his mes­sage on trade, which was a driv­ing force for his pres­i­den­tial run.

“Wil­bur Ross is a cham­pion of Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing and knows how to help com­pa­nies suc­ceed,” Mr. Trump said when an­nounc­ing the nom­i­na­tion. “Most im­por­tantly, he is one of the great­est ne­go­tia­tors I have ever met, and that comes from me, the au­thor of ‘The Art of the Deal.’”

Mr. Trump pointed to Mr. Mnuchin’s suc­cess­ful turn­around of IndyMac as ev­i­dence of his fi­nan­cial acu­men.

“He pur­chased IndyMac Bank for $1.6 bil­lion and ran it very pro­fes­sion­ally, sell­ing it for $3.4 bil­lion plus a re­turn of cap­i­tal. That’s the kind of peo­ple I want in my ad­min­is­tra­tion rep­re­sent­ing our coun­try,” he said.

Mr. Mnuchin, who ad­vised Mr. Trump on his tax re­form plan, said over­haul­ing the tax code would be the top pri­or­ity.

“This will be the largest tax change since Rea­gan,” he said on CNBC. “We are go­ing to cut cor­po­rate taxes, which will bring huge amounts of jobs back to the United States.”

If con­firmed by the Se­nate, Mr. Mnuchin would con­tinue a tra­di­tion of Trea­sury sec­re­taries with Gold­man Sachs ex­pe­ri­ence. Robert Ru­bin in the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion and Henry Paul­son in the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion also worked at the Wall Street pow­er­house.

Mr. Trump also tapped Chicago Cubs owner Todd Rick­etts for deputy com­merce sec­re­tary. He is an­other bil­lion­aire known for turn­ing around fail­ing busi­nesses, in­clud­ing the long-suf­fer­ing Cubs, who won the World Series this year for the first time since 1908.

Mr. Trump plans to travel to the Car­rier plant in In­di­ana on Thurs­day to an­nounce the deal that stopped the com­pany from mov­ing 1,000 jobs to Mex­ico. Dur­ing the cam­paign, Mr. Trump pledged that if elected, he would force Car­rier to re­con­sider the move and pos­si­bly slap a 35 per­cent tar­iff on prod­ucts it ships back into the U.S.

Mr. Trump will be ac­com­pa­nied by Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence, gov­er­nor of In­di­ana.

The deal with United Tech­nolo­gies, which owns Car­rier, hinged on the prom­ise of lower taxes and fewer reg­u­la­tions un­der a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Today’s an­nounce­ment is pos­si­ble be­cause the in­com­ing Trump-Pence ad­min­is­tra­tion has em­pha­sized to us its com­mit­ment to sup­port the busi­ness com­mu­nity and cre­ate an im­proved, more com­pet­i­tive U.S. busi­ness cli­mate. The in­cen­tives of­fered by the state were an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion,” Car­rier said in a state­ment.

Mr. Miller, the tran­si­tion team spokesman, said the an­nounce­ment speaks about “the strength of this in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion, its fo­cus on jobs and the true com­mit­ment to make good on these cam­paign prom­ises to not just bring back Amer­i­can jobs in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor but to make sure Amer­i­can jobs are stay­ing here.”

Ear­lier this month, Mr. Trump per­suaded the Ford Mo­tor Co. to con­tinue pro­duc­tion of the lux­ury cross­over Lin­coln MKC at its plant in Louisville, Ken­tucky.

The plan to move pro­duc­tion to Mex­ico was not ex­pected to re­sult in job losses at the Louisville assem­bly line, where work­ers also make the Ford Es­cape, but the de­ci­sion to stay nev­er­the­less was greeted as en­cour­ag­ing.

“We are en­cour­aged that Pres­i­dent-elect Trump and the new Congress will pur­sue poli­cies that will im­prove U.S. com­pet­i­tive­ness and make it pos­si­ble to keep pro­duc­tion of this ve­hi­cle here in the United States,” Ford said in a state­ment.

The White House dis­missed the Car­rier deal, say­ing it’s nice but pales in com­par­i­son with the jobs cre­ated un­der Pres­i­dent Obama.

“If he is suc­cess­ful in do­ing that 804 more times, then he will meet the record of man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs cre­ated in the United States while Pres­i­dent Obama was in of­fice,” said White House press sec­re­tary Josh Earnest.

The pres­i­dent’s spokesman said the Car­rier an­nounce­ment was “good news” but noted that the ac­tion in­volved sav­ing rather than cre­at­ing jobs. By that mea­sure, he said, Mr. Obama “saved” more than 1 mil­lion jobs in the auto in­dus­try bailout in 2009. ●


TEAM OF AL­LIES: Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, keep­ing with his pro-busi­ness cam­paign, nom­i­nated bil­lion­aire Wil­bur Ross (top) for com­merce sec­re­tary and wealthy Wall Street in­sider Steve Mnuchin to head the Trea­sury Depart­ment. The se­lec­tions of such wealthy barons of the fi­nan­cial sec­tor were seen by some as break­ing Mr. Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp.”


Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump per­suaded Ford Mo­tor Co. to scrap plans to move pro­duc­tion of its Lin­coln MKC to Mex­ico, in line with his pledge to keep man­u­fac­tur­ing and other blue-col­lar jobs in the U.S.

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