After Savaging Goldman Sachs, Trump Stocks His Admin With Goldman Alums

Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn has been offered the directorship of the Trump White House’s National Economic Council, anonymous sources told NBC News and Bloomberg Politics Friday. It is the most recent in a series of potential Trump hires from the financial services giant that Trump himself criticized heavily during the presidential campaign and tried to hang around Hillary Clinton’s neck.

In Trump’s closing advertisement before Election Day, a two-minute spectacular focused on blood-sucking elites, Cohn’s only senior at Goldman, CEO Lloyd Blankfein, flashed on screen while Trump said: “It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”

Cohn joins several Goldman Sachs alumni already expected to be in the new administration.

Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary, spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs before striking out on his own. His father and brother also had high-profile careers at the investment bank. Steve Bannon, formerly Trump’s campaign CEO and now his chief strategist, worked at Goldman Sachs in the 1980s in mergers and acquisitions.

Anthony Scaramucci, one of Trump’s top transition advisers and a frequent cable news talking head, had two separate stints at Goldman Sachs, most recently as vice president in private wealth management, according to CNN Money. Cohn became a partner at Goldman Sachs in 1994, four years into a lengthy career there.

Asked on CNN Friday about Goldman Sachs’ increasing influence in Trump’s inner circle, Scaramucci said, “I think the cabal against the bankers is over.”

As Mediate pointed out Friday, Trump frequently used his political opponents’ real or imagined ties to Goldman Sachs to characterize them on Twitter. Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi works for Goldman Sachs in Texas, a connection that Trump that Trump noted during the primaries:

Trump’s connections to the bank did not run very deep before he picked its current and former employees to work for him. William D. Cohan, author of the book “Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World,” told WNYC’s Richard Hake Tuesday that Trump’s ties to the investment bank as a real estate developer and reality show star were “non-existent, period.”

“Goldman used to use Donald Trump as the poster child for the kind of client they did not want the firm to do business with,” he said.

Goldman Sachs leadership now seems unfazed by Trump’s campaign rhetoric. “Mr. Trump may turn out to be a much better president than anyone else might have been in that place,” CEO Blankfein said in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt, reported by Business Insider. “He’s a very smart guy, a businessman… I am not pessimistic at all because he won.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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