US ELECTIONS

Trump fills his economic team with Wall Street millionaires

His choice of advisors contradicts his populist message for the middle class

Donald Trump speaking in Denver.
Donald Trump speaking in Denver.Evan Vucci / AP

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Modesty is not one of Donald Trump’s defining characteristics: “I am going to be the greatest jobs president our country has ever seen,” he said on Friday while introducing his economic team. The profiles of those advisors, however, contradict his populist message for the middle class and his complaints against the excesses of Wall Street. Trump is expected to give a speech in Detroit on Monday to unveil his economic plans for the country.

“We have such a formidable group of experienced and talented individuals,” Trump said. The team is an exclusive club of male billionaires from the banking and real estate industries. Notable members include Steven Feinberg, founder of Cerberus, a private equity firm; John Paulson, the “Shark of Wall Street” who made a fortune from the housing crisis and Harold Hamm, an oil magnate known as the “Fracking King.”

Stephen Miller, one of the first Republicans to publicly endorse Trump, will lead the group as national director of policy for the campaign. Dan Kowalski, the deputy staff director for the Senate Budget Committee, one of the most powerful people involved in preparing the federal budget, will serve as deputy director. Trump’s economic team does not include women or professionals from the technology industries. A surprising absence is Carl Icahn, a business mogul Trump often cites at his rallies.

Other important contributors include bankers Andy Beal and Steven Mnuchin. Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs executive and currently serves as Trump’s national finance chairman, the chief fundraiser for the campaign

Every member has some sort of professional or personal relationship with Trump and they help sell the image of success that draws the quintessential Trump voter. Steven Feinberg and Harold Hamm are also major Trump donors. Other important contributors include bankers Andy Beal and Steven Mnuchin. Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs executive and currently serves as Trump’s national finance chairman, the chief fundraiser for the campaign.

Tom Barrack, founder and executive chairman of Colony Capital, a real estate investment firm that handles billions of dollars, served as deputy under-secretary for the Interior Department in the Reagan administration. He and Harold Hamm spoke at the Republican Convention in Cleveland.

The list goes on. Stephen Calk, chief executive at Federal Savings Bank; Dan DiMicco, former president of Nucor Corporation, one the country’s biggest steel producers; Howard Lorber, president of Douglas Elliman, a real estate firm, and chief executive of the holding company Vector Group; David Malpass, an economist who advised the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations; Peter Navarro, professor in economics at the University of California; Steven Roth, founder of Vornado Realty Trust; and Stephen Moore, chief economist at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation.

Trump will reveal his economic plan on Monday in Detroit, the city hardest hit by the last economic recession. According to his campaign, his proposals “will focus empowering Americans by freeing up the necessary tools for everyone to gain economically.” “For too long we have watched as President Obama and Hillary Clinton have ruined our economy and decimated the middle class,” Trump said.

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Donald Trump has said on several occasions that he will try to renegotiate trade agreements, return jobs that were outsourced to countries like Mexico and China and put limits on immigration. He has also proposed tax cuts for businesses and individual taxpayers. The team “will work with me to implement real solutions for the economic issues facing our country,” he added.

Moody’s Analytics says the Republican candidate’s plans may destroy up to 3.5 million jobs and unemployment would climb up to 7 percent. Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi says the super rich will watch their fortunes grow while “for a typical American family those will be four difficult years.” Zandi served as John McCain’s advisor during his 2008 bid for the White House against Barack Obama.

English version by Dyane Jean-François.

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