OPEN FOR BUSI­NESS

Trump cre­at­ing com­merce-friendly White House

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - 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

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