One of Donald Trump’s cabinet members does a passable impersonation of Inspector Clouseau of the Pink Panther movie fame. He likes to drag his Secret Service detail on 40-mile bike rides and just took up boxing. Plus, he is nearly a newlywed, married Scottish movie actor Louise Linton in 2017, according to NBC News.
Steven Mnuchin may be the most unusual member of the Trump team. According to The New York Times:
‘The $2.2 trillion government rescue — which delivered cash to individuals, small businesses and giant companies — was a crucial victory for Mr. Trump, who was facing withering attacks for his failures to respond to the fast-spreading coronavirus.’
Afterward, Mr. Trump hailed Mr. Mnuchin as a “great” Treasury secretary and “fantastic guy.”
Trump yelled at Mnuchin, pointed at him, and added:
‘I never should have signed it. You’re to blame.’
Mr. Mnuchin is the rare cabinet secretary who does not seem to have strong political beliefs. White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said:
‘I don’t know if Steve is a Republican or Democrat. I do know he’s smart and a hard worker.’
Although Trump thinks Mnuchin is a Democratic, he is wrong. His Treasury Secretary has always been a registered Republican.
At Yale, he was enamored by the “objectivist” writer Ayn Rand.
Mnuchin’s Hollywood partner Brett Ratner produced movies such as The Lego Batman Movie. He said he was surprised by Mnuchin’s interest in politics:
‘I nearly fell out of my chair.’
While many pundits believed that Secretary Hillary Clinton would win in 2016, Mnuchin called the election. He compared Trump’s rally attendees to going with “Mick Jagger” to one of the musician’s concerts, which he has done.
He decided to join the candidate’s fledgling cabinet and bought a $12.6 million nine-bedroom mansion in Washington, D.C. What did the “flamboyant and dour” candidate and Mnuchin share? They both hang on “the deal,” especially real estate deals, and they are related to Scottish women.
The two men also had self-made fathers. Mnuchin drove a red Porsche with “custom plaid upholstery.”
He was not the new president’s first choice. That was the JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon.
The Treasury secretary prepared for the job interview, including his own personal wealth, $400 million, but basically, he was second-tier. His job at the White House got off to a rocky beginning. Yet, Mnuchin and Trump became fast allies after the president said the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia included some “very fine people.”’
By the end of year one in the Trump presidency, Mnuchin’s $1.5 trillion tax cut package became POTUS’ “signature legislative achievement.”
The secretary’s stepmother, who came into his life when he was a toddler, went to great lengths to tell people she was not his biological mother. When she reluctantly went to his wedding, she faked a hurt arm so that she could get out of shaking Trump’s hands.
As for Mnuchin’s attitude toward Black people, his nephew said:
‘[Mnuchin was responsible for years of] marginalization, persecution and stereotyping of black people in the United States. [His actions] cannot and will never be defensible. It’s a very complicated relationship. There’s definitely some tension.’
His style has been to give his opinion when it is asked even if Trump will not like it. Still, he always steps in line and follows orders.
He did not see the coronavirus as more than a “minor threat” to the economy at first. Then, Mnuchin told Kudlow:
‘There’s big trouble coming.’
Kudlow agreed. Trump said:
‘Just stay calm. It will go away.’
The secretary was in crisis mode by then. He and Pelosi discussed bailouts for different industries, cash for employees, and financial support for small businesses. Mnuchin asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his blessing and got it. McConnell said:
‘Mr. Mnuchin was amenable to what looked like a Democratic wish list of economic remedies: paid sick leave, paid family medical leave and aid to states to expand unemployment benefits. The result was a $200 billion package for families. The negotiation took “two days. Trump signed it the next week.”‘
The $200 billion financial package for families took two days to negotiate.
Former Senator Leader Newt Gingrich’s newsletter read:
‘We should be planning for a worst-case pandemic and using the kind of intensity of implementation which served us so well in World War I.’
Mnuchin called Gingrich for his opinion on a $1 trillion payout? The senator responded:
‘That’s not nearly enough. It should be $3 trillion’.”
Mr. Mnuchin said in a recent interview that he had “always thought $1 trillion was a lot,” but he agreed with Mr. Gingrich that this “was a war we had to win.”
The unemployment rate was 14.7 percent in April, 10.2 percent in July. Yet, stock markets were blasting through the roof.
‘Not many Treasury secretaries could have gotten something that size done so quickly.’
Republicans hated it. They believed that $600 a week added to unemployment benefits was too much.
Fox News and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page faulted the plan, indicating that Trump caved to Pelosi. But Mnuchin is apolitical:
‘When people ask why have I succeeded in this job, one, I understand why the president is the president. I was there — I saw why he won. Anything that’s significant or material I check with the president.’
Senate Minority Leader Charles (Chuck) Schumer (D-NY) said:
‘You’re supposed to be a good influence on him. He’s not supposed to be a bad influence on you.’
Twitter had fun with Mnuchin. Check out what Americans had to say about him below:
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.