As a candidate, Donald Trump was quick to criticize Wall Street, but that’s where the president-elect found two key figures for his economic team.
Former Goldman Sachs partner Steve Mnuchin will be nominated as Treasury secretary, and billionaire businessman Wilbur Ross was selected as Commerce secretary. Both have spent their careers as Wall Street investors.
The economic grease behind Mr. Trump’s Carrier deal is conventional, with promises of tax cuts and contracts, but the timing and political benefits are not, reports CBS News correspondent Major Garrett. The deal gives the Trump transition an economic victory in the heartland, one that aides say is likely to eclipse all news and speculation about future Cabinet picks and scrutiny of not-so populist secretaries nominated so far.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence and future White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus met with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill Wednesday, vowing to cut business taxes, reduce federal regulation and re-write trade deals.
Meanwhile, at Trump Tower, Mnuchin, a life-long Wall Street financier, previewed the next administration’s economic plans.
“We’re going to have the most significant middle income tax cut since Reagan,” Mnuchin said.
“The tax plan has both the corporate aspects to it, lowering corporate taxes so we make U.S. companies the most competitive in the world,” he also said.
Mr. Trump’s choice of Mnuchin for Treasury and Ross for Commerce signals a turning away from candidate Trump’s attacks on Wall Street corruption.
“When you cast that ballot, just picture a Wall Street board room, filled with the special interests who have been bleeding your country and your city and every place else,” Mr. Trump had said in a September rally in Novi, Michigan.
“I am not going to let Wall Street get away with murder. Wall Street has caused tremendous problems for us,” he also said in January in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Mr. Trump is signaling he’ll keep his promise to Main Street, with the agreement with Carrier to keep 1,000 jobs in the U.S.
“Someone who is not yet even president of the United States is able to negotiate something that was a major issue in the campaign,” Sen. Dan Coats said.
Coats, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany under President George W. Bush, is being considered for director of national intelligence. Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis is the front-runner for secretary of defense. Mattis retired only three years ago, and Congress would need to waive a law forbidding any retired general from leading the Pentagon within seven years of retirement.
As for reports that Sarah Palin is under consideration for Veterans Affairs secretary or Interior secretary, sources tell CBS News she’s not necessarily a serious option, but more a “theoretical” choice. Congressman Jeff Miller of Florida, chair of the House Veterans committee, remains the leading Veterans Affairs candidate. Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers has emerged as the front-runner for Interior secretary.