Friday, September 29, 2017

Meet Mr. Mnuchin

It's time for another installment of Meet Your Cabinet!

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✍Sep 29, 2017
Sixth in line in the presidential order of succession is Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Mnuchin, 54, followed his father in the mortgage department at Goldman Sachs, becoming a partner there in 1994. He left in 2002, managing hedge funds and heading the residential lender OneWest, as well as founding a film production company, RatPac-Dune Entertainment.

An early supporter of Donald Joffrey Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, Mnuchin accepted Trump's offer to be the national finance chairman of his campaign last April, after Trump had won the New York Republican primary. Up to that point, the Trump campaign had not set up a large-scale fund raising drive; Mnuchin set to work creating and managing one.

In spite of Trump's campaign attacks on the banking industry (an ad charged Goldman Sachs of having "robbed the working class"), Mnuchin joined the Trump administration, along with fellow Goldman Sachs alums Steve Bannon, Gary Cohn, Dina Powell, Eric Ueland, and appointees up and down the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In August, Mnuchin came under scrutiny for his use of government aircraft after his wife, Louise Linton, posted a selfie on Instagram showing her deplaning a government jet in Kentucky in time to see the solar eclipse. Mnuchin denied that the solar eclipse had anything to do with the trip, saying "People in Kentucky took it [the solar eclipse] very seriously. Being a New Yorker, I don't have any interest in watching the eclipse."

An investigation by the Treasury Department's Office of the Inspector General subsequently found that Mnuchin had requested a military jet for his honeymoon travel to Europe in June. The OIG investigation also showed Mnuchin had taken a USAF C-37A to return from New York to Washington on August 15 after flying to New York commercially. Mnuchin's return flight lasted less than an hour and had an operating cost of at least $25,000.

Mnuchin has reimbursed the government for the definitely-non-eclipse-viewing flight, and has defended the honeymoon flight on the grounds that he needed access to secure communications during that trip. But a pattern is emerging of Trump cabinet officials who seem unable to accomplish anything without a five-figure government plane trip involved.

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