By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: January 9, 2017
During his political campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly railed against Wall Street with a specific focus on Goldman Sachs. In the final days of his campaign, Trump released an advertisement (see video below) that featured his opponent, Hillary Clinton, shaking hands with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. As the image flickers on the screen, Trump does a voice over, stating: “”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.” As the ad ends, Trump bares his soul: “I’m doing this for the people and for the movement and we will take back this country for you and we will make America great again.”
How did a candidate who repeatedly demonized Goldman Sachs as the poster child for a corrupt establishment that owned Washington end up with Goldman Sachs’ progeny filling every post that even tangentially has the odor of money or global finance? One answer is family ties; another may be something darker.
Trump’s non-stop nominations and appointments of Goldman Sachs alumni have left his supporters stunned. Trump nominated Steven Mnuchin, a 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs to be his Treasury Secretary. Stephen Bannon, another former Goldman Sachs banker, was named by Trump as his Chief Strategist in the White House. The sitting President of Goldman Sachs, Gary Cohn, has been named by Trump as Director of the National Economic Council, which, according to its website, coordinates “policy-making for domestic and international economic issues.” Last week, in a move that stunned even Wall Street, Trump nominated a Goldman Sachs outside lawyer, Jay Clayton of Sullivan & Cromwell, to serve as Wall Street’s top cop as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Adding to the slap in the face to Trump’s working class supporters, Clayton’s wife currently works as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs.
But the Goldman Sachs’ ties don’t stop there.
When Alexander Blankfein, the oldest son of Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein was married in 2013, Joshua Kushner attended the wedding. Joshua had been Alexander’s roommate at Harvard according to the New York Times. Joshua is the brother-in-law to a woman who will play a major role in the Trump administration – Ivanka Trump, daughter of the President-elect and wife of Joshua’s brother, Jared.
According to Politico, Goldman Sachs partner, Dina Powell, President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, is Ivanka’s “top adviser on policy and staffing.”
Then there is Erin Walsh who had worked at Goldman Sachs since 2010 as an Executive Director and head of its Office of Corporate Engagement for Asia Pacific. Walsh also previously worked in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Walsh is now part of Trump’s transition landing team for the State Department and is engaged in prepping the just retired CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, for his Senate confirmation hearing this week to become the Secretary of the Department of State, according to Politico.
A recent Executive Director of Goldman Sachs preparing the recent titular head of Big Oil to pass muster to run the State Department is the Orwellian version of draining the swamp — and Trump’s pre-election campaign language is proving to have been very Orwellian, as in reverse-speak.
And there is yet another former Goldman Sachs banker, Anthony Scaramucci, who sits on Trump’s transition team.
Since 2010, according to Federal Election Commission records, Gary Cohn, the President of Goldman Sachs and Trump’s designee as Director of the National Economic Council, has given $148,800 to political candidates running for Federal office. No contributions were made to Donald Trump. Despite that, Cohn will sit atop a powerful body and have the President’s ear on both domestic and international economic issues. According to multiple media reports, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, is a close friend of Cohn’s and set up the first meeting with Trump.
During the primary campaign, when it emerged that Trump’s opponent Ted Cruz had received a loan from Goldman Sachs, Trump said that Cruz was “owned” by Goldman Sachs. Now the Dow Jones company, MarketWatch, has reported that Trump’s debt is held by more than 150 Wall Street firms. The New York Times has reported that Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company holds a loan on an office tower at 1290 Avenue of the Americas, a building that is 30 percent owned by Donald Trump.
Some of the Trump debt held by Wall Street firms, according to media reports, includes Donald Trump’s personal guarantee in the event of a default. The true owners of other Trump debt are shielded behind secretive Limited Liability Corporations. These serious conflicts of interests together with the unprecedented infusion of Goldman Sachs honchos into his administration, have the potential to set a new low in Washington politics – an outcome that America can ill afford as it struggles to rise above the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression just eight years ago.
The Senate is set to hold confirmation hearings on nine of Trump’s nominees this week. Call your Senator today and demand that he or she asks the questions that will get to the bottom of these Byzantine conflicts.