Two figures set to play big roles in Donald Trump’s administration have longstanding ties to Hollywood.
Steve Bannon, named on Sunday as Trump’s chief strategist, is best known as the chairman of the Breitbart News Network, which has become a platform for the nationalist, alt-right movement. His selection has drawn harsh rebukes from the Anti-Defamation League, the Council on American Islamic Relations, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Bannon also has a deep history with Hollywood, running back to his role in financing the Sean Penn film “The Indian Runner” in 1991. An alum of Goldman Sachs, Bannon worked in entertainment finance for about a decade before turning to making conservative documentaries. He met conservative media figure Andrew Breitbart and succeeded to the chairmanship of the company upon Breitbart’s death in 2012.
The other Hollywood figure in Trump’s orbit is Steven Mnuchin, who served as the finance chair of Trump’s campaign. Mnuchin is the leading candidate for secretary of the treasury, according to a Bloomberg report. Spotted at Trump Tower on Monday, Mnuchin is said to be the transition team’s choice for the treasury post, though the final decision has not yet been made.
Like Bannon, Mnuchin is a Goldman Sachs alum who came to Hollywood. He was briefly co-chairman of Relativity Media, leaving shortly before the company went bankrupt. He also partnered with Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment and produced a long string of films with Warner Bros., including “American Sniper,” “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and “Suicide Squad.” He was one of the backers of Warren Beatty’s new movie “Rules Don’t Apply,” in which he also has a cameo as a financier.
He also organized the group that bought the failed IndyMac Bank and turned it around as OneWest Bank. In 2015, Variety reported that Relativity’s creditors were angered to discover that Relativity had paid $50 million to OneWest shortly before the bankruptcy, which some saw as a conflict of interest.