Contradicting rhetoric from his presidential campaign, President Donald Trump explained why he chose Wall Street billionaires for several of his Cabinet roles during a campaign-style rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Wednesday evening.
“So somebody said, ‘Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy?’ I said, ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want … because they’re representing the country. They don’t want the money. And they had to give up a lot to take these jobs.”
“We can’t have the world taking advantage of us anymore,” Trump added. “And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person,” Trump added. “Does that make sense? If you insist, I’ll do it — but I like it better this way, right?”
Trump appointed a number of Wall Street executives to his Cabinet, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of WL Ross & Co., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of Goldman Sachs.
Gary Cohn, the former president and COO of Goldman Sachs, is now Trump’s chief economic adviser and director of the National Economic Council.
“He went from massive pay days to peanuts,” Trump said of Cohn at the rally.
During his campaign in 2016, Trump railed against his opponents for their ties to Wall Street. He frequently criticized Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for accepting money from Goldman Sachs to deliver speeches.
And, while Trump painted Wall Street executives as champions of the economy in his speech on Wednesday, he strongly criticized them in Jan. 2016 at a rally in Iowa.
“I know Wall Street,” Trump said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “I know the people on Wall Street … I’m not going to let Wall Street get away with murder. Wall Street has caused tremendous problems for us.”
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