One of Donald Trump’s preferred villains on the campaign trail was the Wall Street banker. Of the many Wall Street workers he targeted, he seemed to reserve particular scorn for the bankers and executives at Goldman Sachs. Indeed, during the campaign, he attacked then candidate Ted Cruz as “owned” by Wall Street on account of his wife, Heidi Cruz, working for the firm. Said Trump at the time: “I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over him (Ted Cruz). Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.”
Now that he is in office, Trump has – shockingly – completely changed his tune. This is evidenced by the many Goldman Sachs hires he has brought into the administration, inserting them at the highest levels of government.
Most recently, Trump has appointed Jim Donovan – a 20 year veteran at Goldman Sachs – as deputy secretary of the Treasury (the number 2 position in the department). Goldman Sachs immediately lauded the hire.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who also ran on a populist message, is outraged at Trump’s reversal of course. Said Sanders, “This guy [Trump] is a fraud…It is hard not to laugh to see President Trump alongside these Wall Street guys.”
The cynic – or, perhaps more accurately, the realist – would say that Trump never had any problems or disagreements with Wall Street or with Goldman Sachs. He recognized that Americans viewed Wall Street with suspicion and some disgust, and decided to appropriate a populist message to appeal to a certain class of voter. It was a shrewd move. However, now that his cabinet is stocked full with billionaires and Wall Street executives, those voters may not be so easily deceived come 2020.