President-elect Donald Trump is tapping conservatives with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street to fill out key Cabinet roles as he continues to deliberate over his secretary of state.
Trump announced Wednesday morning his intent to nominate former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as secretary of the Treasury and investor Wilbur Ross as Commerce secretary. The pair had appeared on on CNBC earlier Wednesday to confirm that Trump intended to nominate them to the cabinet.
Mnuchin, 53, led Trump's finance operations during the presidential campaign and became close to the president-elect and his family. In the official announcement, Trump cited "his expertise and pro-growth ideas," along with flipping Pasadena-based IndyMac Bank at a nearly $2 billion profit, as reasons to select him.
In reaction to Trump's announcment Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, said in a statement:
“President-elect Trump campaigned against big money’s power in Washington and accused Wall Street and hedge funds of ‘getting away with murder.’ But now he has picked a hedge-fund manager whose Wall Street ties couldn’t run deeper to lead the Treasury Department, which is exactly what this election showed the American people don’t want. This isn’t draining the swamp -- it’s stocking it with alligators.”
If confirmed by the Senate, Mnuchin would play a central role in shaping Trump's tax policies and infrastructure plans. He would also lead an agency tasked with implementing international economic sanctions.
He has no government experience, which could prove a hurdle in navigating the tricky politics of Washington.
A business leader and ardent Trump supporter, Ross made billions restructuring failed companies and was known for his work in the coal and steel companies, two industries that Trump promised to revive on the campaign trail.
Like Trump, Ross is a critic of free trade deals. Trump called Ross a great negotiator and "champion of American manufacturing and knows how to help companies succeed."
Todd Ricketts, a Trump backer and co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, was also announced Wednesday as Trump's pick for deputy Commerce secretary.
Both Mnuchin and Ross are longtime Democratic donors, but they each came out early in support of Trump during this election cycle, NBC News reports.
On Tuesday, Trump announced former labor secretary Elaine Chao as his top choice to lead the Transportation Department and Georgia Rep. Tom Price, a leading critic of Obamacare, as his top pick for Health and Human Services.