Mnuchin has been by Donald Trump’s side since May, when he joined the campaign as finance chairman, but it wasn’t until he was finally tapped to be Treasury secretary that a heap of damaging stories about his career—particularly his role in the financial crisis—emerged. Over the last two weeks, there have been stories about:
- OneWest, the bank that Mnuchin founded, filing to foreclose on a 90-year-old woman over a 27 cent payment error.
- OneWest being singled out by Andrew Cuomo for squeezing homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy.
- OneWest being accused of racial discrimination by the Federal Housing Administration for allegedly “redlining” housing applicants.
- Mnuchin donating to nonprofit groups that vouched for OneWest against the above accusations.
- Mnuchin making millions off the financial crisis.
Elizabeth Warren has already seized on the flood of damaging stories, calling Mnuchin the “Forrest Gump of the financial crisis”—which presumably means that he’s an overrated 90s relic about how white people actually did all of the good things in the 60s and 70s and one of the most offensive things ever produced in this country.
Mnuchin—and Trump’s pro-Wall Street cabinet as a whole—perfectly encapsulates the defining tension of the nascent Trump administration, between Trump’s longtime affinity for predatory capitalism, his base, and his quote-unquote populist rhetoric. With the Carrier deal, Trump signaled that he will attempt to thread the needle—assuaging his base with publicity stunts while advocating for policies that benefit the super rich and very, very few others.