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The Trump administration, club for the (very) wealthy

By AFP   |   01 December 2016   |   7:14 pm
President-elect Donald Trump, Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

President-elect Donald Trump,/ GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

The US administration-in-waiting nominated by President-elect Donald Trump is a circle of multimillionaire businessmen and women the public may view as a cabinet whose wealth is unprecedented in US history.

Himself a billionaire real estate developer, Trump could entrench this characteristic should he choose Mitt Romney to be his secretary of state. Romney amassed a personal fortune estimated at $230 million and previously headed the private equity firm Bain Capital.

Here are a few of the monied nominees who could test Trump’s pledge to make America, and its middle class, “great again.”


Wilbur Ross, Commerce

The nominee for Commerce secretary is reportedly worth $2.5 billion, making him the 232nd wealthiest man in America, according to Forbes.

A collector of works of fine art, including paintings by Rene Magritte, Ross for decades ran the bankruptcy advisory business at the Rothschild family’s investment banking company.

Shortly after 2000, Ross branched out, creating his own investment company WL Ross & Co, which acquired ailing steel, coal and textile firms. Ross sold the firm in 2006 but remains chairman.

Betsy DeVos, Education

The nominee for Education secretary married into the family of major Republican political donors and heirs to the $5.1 billion fortune from Amway, the US multi-level marketing giant.

Steven Mnuchin, Treasury

An old hand from the fabled investment bank Goldman Sachs, the nominee for Treasury secretary made a mint in buying the California bank IndyMac with other investors following the 2008 financial crisis and later selling it for nearly $2 billion.

He also started an investment firm backed by the major Democratic donor George Soros and helped finance Hollywood blockbusters including “Avatar” and “Suicide Squad.”

His personal wealth is estimated at $40 million.

– Other high net-worth individuals –

Forbes puts Trump’s worth at $3.8 billion and his transition team has tapped other wealthy people as possible Cabinet nominees.

Fracking oil and gas magnate Harold Hamm, sits atop a $16.9 billion fortune and could be made Energy secretary.

Favored to takeover the Labor Department, Andrew Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants. In 2012 alone, he took home a $4.4 million pay package, according to Forbes.

Elaine Chao, Trump’s nominee for Transportation, is the daughter of the shipping magnate James SC Chao, the founder of the Foremost Group whose net worth is estimated at several tens of millions of dollars.


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Donald Trump


  • vivaladee

    The article’s title is polarizing. It is not a sin to be wealthy, neither is it illegal or suspicious for wealthy businessmen and businesswomen to be allowed to be in government.
    They were probably picked due to their track record of creating wealth using their business skills.
    People migrate to the USA for a better socioeconomic life and since there’s no royal family here, billionaires and multimillionaires have taken the position of American aristocracy.
    As contentious as this political election was, I doubt if the incumbent would want to run this country into the ground. This is the same country that made him a very rich man.
    The Clintons are not exactly poor either and I doubt if the current president and his family would be happy to return to the same economic lifestyle they had before entering office. Check out their multimillion dollar mansion they will soon be moving into.

  • vivaladee

    Also it would be interesting to find out how America would fare when run by people who do not traditionally come from the Establishment i.e. career politicians or Ivy league intellectuals groomed in the traditional corridors of power.
    Ivy league minds continue to play very important roles in shaping economic and political views but it would also be interesting to find out what views are held by intellectuals at non Ivy league schools a.k.a. the rest of American academia.
    Folks at schools like Wyoming State University or University of Oregon or Florida A&M or Gonzaga University what are their views on government policy?

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