Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took an unexpected step on Wednesday to issue a joint statement on Donald Trump‘s decision to nominate Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary. They weren’t the only Democrats who criticized Trump’s choice, as some begin to wonder if he really plans to “Drain the Swamp” as he promised during the campaign.
Mnuchin is a banker and film producer who was previously a partner at Goldman Sachs for 17 years. He was also the finance chairman of Trump’s campaign and has an estimated net worth of $40 million. His father also worked at Goldman Sachs. With such close ties to Wall Street, Warren and Sanders think there will be no way for Trump to follow through with the campaign promise of taking on Wall Street.
Their joint statement reads:
During the campaign, Donald Trump told the American people that he was going to change Washington by taking on Wall Street. Donald Trump’s choice for Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, is just another Wall Street insider. That is not the type of chance that Donald Trump promised to bring to Washington – that is hypocrisy at its worst.
Warren and Sanders went on to cite what Mnuchin dud during the financial crisis, saying that after Goldman Sachs’ bailout, “Mnuchin moved on to make a fortune running another bank that aggressively foreclosed on families still reeling from the crisis. This pick makes clear that Donald Trump wants to cater to the same Wall Street executives that have hurt working families time and again.”
Warren and Sanders were referring to Mnuchin’s work as the head of OneWest Bank. According to NPR, the California Reinvestment Coalistion said that OneWest foreclosed on over 36,000 homeowners when Mnuchin was leading the bank. OneWest was originally known as IndyMac and is now under the CIT Group.
In her own statement, Warren called Mnuchin the “Forrest Gump of the financial crisis.”
“What I feared is coming true. Trump is empowering special interests not taking them on,” Sanders tweeted himself.
Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, said Trump picking Mnuchin wasn’t draining the swamp, “it’s stocking it with alligators.”
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.
Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who is a ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, also pointed out Mnuchin’s “history of profiting off the victims of predatory lending.” Wyden added at he looks forward to “asking him how his Treasury Department would work for Americans who are still waiting for the economic recovery to show up in their communities.”
Joe Walsh, the former Illinois Republican Congressman who supported Trump, called Trump considering Mnuchin and Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn for administration positions “bullshit.”
“Can you hire someone who doesn’t work for Goldman Sachs?” Walsh tweeted. “What about that swamp? Huh?”
There was at least one positive reaction to Trump’s decision.
“I think Steven Mnuchin would be an excellent choice for Treasury secretary,” Henry Paulson, the former Treasury Secretary who also served as CEO of Goldman Sachs, told the New York Times. “He is very talented, has a deep understanding of finance and markets, he knows how to bring people together to get things done, and — importantly — he has a working relationship with and the confidence of the president-elect.”
Carl Ichan also praised Trump’s decision.