Trump to Name Mnuchin as Next U.S. Treasury Secretary

Nov 30 2016 | 1:44am ET

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as the country’s next Treasury Secretary.

The news was first reported by The New York Times, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter. The official announcement could come as early as Wednesday morning, the paper said.

Mnuchin spent more than 17 years at Goldman Sachs and left in 2002 to launch hedge fund Dune Capital Management. He was named the national finance chief of Trump’s campaign in early May, and has long been rumored to be on the short list for the country’s senior economic post alongside JPMorgan Chase chairman Jamie Dimon and Houses Financial Services Committee chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

As was widely noted when Mnuchin took over the financial reins of Trump’s campaign, there is a certain irony in the appointment of a veteran Wall Street insider and hedge fund manager to the Treasury post, given that Trump repeatedly and publicly railed against hedge fund managers and the carried interest loophole throughout the election cycle. Indeed, several of his cabinet appointments, rumored to also include distressed asset specialist and billionaire Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary, are extremely wealthy individuals emblematic of the 0.1% Trump spent more than a year criticizing.

If confirmed, Mnuchin would succeed Jacob Lew and would become the first Wall Street titan in the role since Henry Paulson – his former boss at Goldman – ran the department for President George W. Bush. He faces an uphill battle from Democrats in the Senate, who must confirm him and who will focus closely on Mnuchin’s involvement with failed California lender IndyMac during the financial crisis. Mnuchin and a group of investors eventually restructured the company, renamed it OneWest, and sold it to CIT in 2015 for $3.4 billion. 

Regardless, observers on both sides of the aisle broadly agree that whoever takes over Treasury for the incoming Trump administration faces the daunting task of translating the president-elect's economic visions into reality without generating crippling deficits and within an environment of rising interest rates.

Trump’s economic plans, expected to cost anywhere from $2.6 trillion to $5.9 trillion, are ambitious and include overhauling the tax code, revamping Dodd Frank, addressing China's manipulation of its currency, renegotiating trade deals and making massive investments in U.S. infrastructure. 

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