It's official: Steven Mnuchin sworn in as Treasury Secretary
Senate approves former OneWest exec for cabinet post in largely partisan vote
Despite all the bluster, attempted parliamentary maneuvering, and name-calling from the Democratic party, the Senate voted Monday evening to approve Steven Mnuchin to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of the Treasury.
As expected, the Senate approved Mnuchin in a partisan vote of 53-47, with one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, splitting from his party and voting with the Republican majority.
Democrats took to calling Mnuchin the “foreclosure king” in an attempt to use OneWest’s foreclosure practices against him.
Senate Democrats attempted to dent Mnuchin’s nomination during his confirmation hearing, even going to so far as pushing to allow some of OneWest’s supposed foreclosure victims to testify before the Senate Finance Committee, a request that the committee’s chairman, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, denied.
In spite of all those efforts, the Senate still confirmed Mnuchin with relative ease.
After being approved by the Senate, Mnuchin joined Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House to be sworn in as the new Treasury Secretary.
After a speech by the president, who boasted that Mnuchin would work 28 hours a day for the American people if he could, Mnuchin took the oath of office alongside his fiancée, Louise Linton.
Prior to taking his new position at the Treasury, Mnuchin served as the finance director of Trump’s campaign. He also a long history of working in finance and mortgages, including his time at OneWest.
Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs. During that time, he oversaw trading in government securities, mortgages, money markets, and municipal bonds, and eventually became the company’s chief information officer.
After leaving Goldman Sachs in 2002, Mnuchin founded Dune Capital Management, a private equity firm.
Mnuchin and his partners at Dune Capital formed OneWest after buying the remains of IndyMac Federal Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2009.
Mnuchin and his partners sold OneWest to CIT Group in 2015. Despite the Democrats’ view of Mnuchin’s time at OneWest, Trump cited Mnuchin’s experience at OneWest as a significant strength.
“Steve Mnuchin is a world-class financier, banker and businessman, and has played a key role in developing our plan to build a dynamic, booming economy that will create millions of jobs,” Trump said back in November.
“His expertise and pro-growth ideas make him the ideal candidate to serve as Secretary of the Treasury,” Trump continued. “He purchased IndyMac Bank for $1.6 billion and ran it very professionally, selling it for $3.4 billion plus a return of capital. That’s the kind of people I want in my administration representing our country.”
Mnuchin also had a sizable presence in Hollywood, serving as the executive producer for “The Lego Batman Movie,” “Suicide Squad,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and more than 30 other movies.
According to a release from the Treasury Department, Mnuchin will now serve as the 77th Treasury Secretary.
“In this role, Secretary Mnuchin will be the principal economic advisor to President Donald J. Trump on domestic and international financial, economic, and tax issues,” the Treasury Department release stated. “Secretary Mnuchin is responsible for the executive branch agency whose mission includes maintaining a strong economy, promoting conditions that enable job growth and stability, protecting the integrity of the financial system, strengthening national security, and managing the U.S. Government’s finances effectively.”
One of the first items on Mnuchin’s agenda, at least according to Gary Cohn, the White House National Economic Council Director and a former top executive at Goldman Sachs himself, will be reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“Mnuchin has been spending a lot of time working on (GSE reform),” Cohn said recently during an interview. “Once he gets approved and confirmed, Steve will be taking that on as one of his early priorities.”
Mnuchin set off a bit of firestorm just after his nomination was announced when he said that one of the Trump administration’s top 10 priorities was getting Fannie and Freddie “out of government ownership.”
Now, Mnuchin will have a rather large say on the future of Fannie and Freddie, as well as a number of other sizable financial issues the Trump administration plans to tackle, including the potential rollback of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.