President-elect Donald Trump has nominated his closest economic advisers, Steve Mnuchin as his Treasury Secretary and Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary.
Mnuchin confirmed Trump appointments were actually official Wednesday morning during a joint CNBC interview with Ross.
“We can indeed,” Mnuchin said. “We’re thrilled to be here and we’re thrilled to work for the president-elect and honored to have these positions.”
During their appearance, Mnuchin indicated the duo priority is “sustained economic growth” of getting the country to “sustained a 3 to 4 percent” gross domestic product growth. Ross expressed interest in fixing “dumb trade,” calling TPP a “horrible deal” and pledging to focus on having “good deals with lots of countries.”
After the CNBC interview, the Trump transition released a statement announcing Mnuchin nomination along with Wilbur Ross Jr. as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Todd Rickett as Deputy Secretary of Commerce, a team that Trump says will be “instrumental in implementing the President-elect’s America First economic plan.”
“Steve Mnuchin is a world-class financier, banker, and businessman, and has played a key role in developing our plan to build a dynamic, booming economy that will create millions of jobs,” Trump said in the statement. “His expertise and pro-growth ideas make him the ideal candidate to serve as Secretary of the Treasury.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve our great country in this important role,” Mnuchin said. “I understand what needs to be done to fix the economy. I look forward to helping President-elect Trump implement a bold economic agenda that creates good-paying jobs and defends the American worker.”
Mnuchin joined the Trump campaign in April, deeply involved in Trump’s tax proposals of trillions in tax reductions over the next 10 years.
On Ross nomination to Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Trump called Ross a “champion of American manufacturing” and “the greatest negotiators” that will “take on the special interests and stand up for American jobs.”
“I am delighted to have been selected to join President-elect Trump’s Cabinet and look forward to working especially closely with Steve Mnuchin to implement the economic programs which we have developed jointly to implement the President-elect’s strategy for accelerating our economic growth,” Ross said.
Todd Ricketts, the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and one of Trump backers, was also announced as Trump’s pick for deputy Commerce Secretary. Trump called Ricketts an “immensely successful businessman with unparalleled knowledge of the finance industry.”
“I am honored that President-elect Donald J. Trump has asked me to serve our country at this critical juncture in our history,” Ricketts said in the statement. “I’m eager to begin this important work and serving with Wilbur Ross to implement President-elect Trump’s economic agenda, which will improve the lives of all Americans.”
Democrats were quick to voice their opposition to Mnuchin nomination. The Democratic National Committee released a statement, ridiculing Trump with his infamous “drain the swamp” campaign rhetoric.
“So much for draining the swamp,” DNC Communications Director Adam Hodge said. “Nominating Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary — a billionaire hedge fund manager and Goldman Sachs alumnus — is a slap in the face to voters who hoped who would shake up Washington.”
The DNC added, “Trump is already heading into office as the most corrupt, conflicted, and unpopular president-elect in history, and now he’s breaking his signature promise to the voters who elected him.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren called Mnuchin the “Forrest Gump of the financial crisis” due to his lengthy career.
“Steve Mnuchin is the Forrest Gump of the financial crisis — he managed to participate in all the worst practices on Wall Street,” Warren said in a statement late Tuesday. “His selection as Treasury Secretary should send shivers down the spine of every American who got hit by the financial crisis, and is the latest sign that Donald Trump has no intention of draining the swamp and every intention of running Washington to benefit himself and his rich buddies.”
If confirmed, Mnuchin would be the third former Goldman executive to lead the Treasury Department in the past 20 years following Henry Paulson and Robert Rubin.