Politics

Trump Picks Second Goldman Sachs Insider For Top Post

| by Oren Peleg

Gary Cohn, president and COO of Goldman Sachs, has been offered the directorship of the National Economic Council by President-elect Donald Trump, as well as assistant to the president for economic policy.

Cohn is the second senior administration member nominated by Trump with strong ties to the global finance firm.

It is unclear if Cohn will accept the positions, but if he does, then he will join Steven Mnuchin, a second-generation partner with Goldman Sachs, in the Trump administration, notes CNBC.

Trump’s selection of Cohn ignited immediate backlash from critics, including Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

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“It’s called a rigged economy and this is how it works,” Sanders tweeted on Dec. 9 as news of Cohn broke.

"Donald Trump ran a campaign on anti-Wall Street rhetoric, but appointing a former hedge fund manager, Goldman Sachs executive, and bank CEO as Treasury Secretary shows his true colors," Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California, said. 

During his presidential campaign, Trump routinely slammed his opponents for their connection to Goldman Sachs, and even said Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was unqualified for the presidency because of her paid speeches to the firm.

“Was there another loan that Ted Cruz FORGOT to file,” Trump tweeted on Jan. 16. “Goldman Sachs owns him, he will do anything they demand. Not much of a reformer!”

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Bloomberg has reported that Cohn was viewed as Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s heir apparent. Cohn is also familiar with policy-making in Washington.

“I seem to be in Washington every week, trying to explain to them the unintended consequences of over-regulation,” Cohn said in 2015.

Cohn is a proponent of keeping U.S. companies onshore, according to the Los Angeles Times. Furthermore, his stance on the Dodd-Frank Act is not as oppositional as Trump’s.

"I do think that part of the regulation we've gone through has inhibited our ability to transmit that capital," Cohn said in November. "On the other hand, remember U.S. banks today are the strongest banks in the world ... That's a huge competitive advantage for U.S. banks, and I don't want to lose that."

Whether Cohn lands in the final Trump Administration lineup come Jan. 20, President-elect Trump’s cabinet is shaping up to be pro-Wall Street. 

Sources: CNBC, (2), Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg / Photo Credit: Bloomberg

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