“A [Donald] Trump presidency is unthinkable,” former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson said a few months ago. He went on to endorse Hillary Clinton for president.
All that was forgotten history Wednesday morning, as the onetime Goldman-Sachs CEO hailed President-elect Trump’s selection of former Goldman-Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as secretary of the treasury.
“Steve embodies the characteristics necessary to be a very good Treasury secretary,” Paulson told reporters. “He is a doer with the analytic and political skills to get things done in a complex environment. He has the right combination of self-confidence, humility, and people skills to work across the aisle to find common ground, and he has deep knowledge of financial markets.”
Most important, Paulson emphasized, “Steve enjoys the trust and confidence of the president-elect, which is vital to success.”
Only last summer, the former secretary of the treasury warned his fellow Republicans were, by putting Trump at the top of ticket, “endorsing a brand of populism rooted in ignorance, prejudice, fear, and isolationism. This troubles me deeply as a Republican, but it troubles me even more as an American.”
He then launched into a tirade around the tycoon candidate’s bankruptcies and ongoing questions about his wealth. “The tactics he has used in running his business wouldn’t work in running a truly successful company, let alone the most powerful nation on earth,” Paulson said. “Every good businessman or woman carefully analyzes all the available facts before making a decision.”
But in his remarks this morning, Paulson, it seems, has developed confidence in the incoming president and his treasury secretary to deal with a troubled economy.
“While America’s financial markets remain the strongest in the world, our economy has been slow to recover, leaving many Americans frustrated and concerned about the future,” Paulson said. “Addressing these challenges will take a deft hand, and I believe that Steven Mnuchin has what it takes to lead President Trump’s economic team.”