President Trump Meets With Independent Community Bankers Association
President Donald Trump speaks at an event with the Independent Community Bankers Association in the Kennedy Garden of the White House on May 1, 2017 in Washington. Alex Wong—Getty Images

President Trump Says He's Interested in Breaking Up Wall Street Banks

May 01, 2017

President Donald Trump said Monday he is looking at a way to break up big Wall Street banks.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Trump hinted that he could follow through on a campaign promise to bringing back a depression-era law that prevented commercial banks from engaging in investment banking.

“I’m looking at that right now,” Trump told Bloomberg. “There’s some people that want to go back to the old system, right? So we’re going to look at that.”

On the campaign trail, President Trump called for a revised version of the Glass-Steagall Act and the Republican Party's platform included a provision to restore Glass-Steagall protections.

In the same interview, Trump said he would consider raising the gas tax to help pay for an infrastructure plan.

Trump's focus on the banking industry through the Depression-era law aligned with that of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont whose proposed policies tapped into the populist fervor that swept the country in 2016. Former President Bill Clinton signed a law that effectively gutted the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. Some believe the repeal of the act led to the financial crisis, but economists and experts disagree.

Bloomberg reports some Trump administration officials support the changes to Glass-Steagall, though there are few details about what a "21st Century version" of the law would look like under Trump.

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