Senate Confirms Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary

The Senate officially confirmed hedge fund manager, former Goldman Sachs executive and Hollywood film financier Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary, despite strong objections from Democrats.

Mnuchin was sworn in as treasury secretary by Vice President Mike Pence on Monday night in the Oval Office. Mnuchin’s fiance, actress Louise Linton, was with him.

“Steven is a financial legend with an incredible track record of success,” Trump said. “I’ve watched this over the years. He’s been my friend of many, many years. Everything he’s touched he’s turned to gold.”

Mnuchin, in brief remarks, said, “I carry your economic vision and goals and am committed to working with you to enact policies to grow the economy and make better economic opportunities for all Americans.”

Mnuchin was confirmed in a 53-47 vote on Monday night, with all Republican senators voting for him and only one Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, voting yes.

Mnuchin will play a major role in shaping economy policy in the Trump administration. The Senate long debated over Mnuchin’s experience, with Democrats contending that he ran a “foreclosure machine” when he led OneWest Bank. They argued that Trump was breaking his promise to stand for American workers in backing the Wall Street-friendly Mnuchin.

“If Steven Mnuchin gets confirmed the banks are going to have the best friend they can have in the Treasury Department,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

Trump, at Mnuchin’s swearing in ceremony, said that he would “help ensure that Wall Street plays by the rules. He will use his insights to get the best possible result, most importantly, for the American worker.”

Mnuchin had said that he would divest his private holdings if confirmed, including those of Ratpac Dune Entertainment Holdings. He said that he would divest within 120 days.

“With regard to those interests, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that to my knowledge has a direct and predictable effect on the financial interests of the entity until I have divested it,” he wrote, adding that the exception would be if he obtained a written waiver or qualified for a regulatory exemption.

Mnuchin also said that he would divest his interests in a number of other entities within 90 days, including Dune Entertainment Partners and Dune Capital Management.

Mnuchin has been a financier for a slew of movies, many at Warner Bros., including “Suicide Squad,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” He served as Trump’s campaign finance chairman.

During his confirmation hearings, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), questioned Mnuchin and suggested that he had had moved his hedge funds to the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes on profits from such investments as the movie “Avatar.” Mnuchin’s Dune Capital helped finance the movie.

But Mnuchin said that he “did not use a Cayman Islands entity in any case to avoid taxes for myself.” He said that the Cayman Island entities were set up “for non profits and pension funds who want to invest through offshore” means.

In a less divisive nomination, all 100 senators voted for David Shulkin to be veterans affairs secretary.

Mnuchin is the latest controversial cabinet pick to lead to long, heated debates on the Senate floor. Democrats fiercely opposed both education secretary Betsy DeVos and attorney general Jeff Sessions, with all Democrats voting against DeVos and only one Democrat, Manchin, voting for Sessions.

More Biz

  • Capitol Music Group Names Amber Grimes

    Capitol Music Group Names Amber Grimes Senior VP of Global Creative

    Amber Grimes has been named to the newly-created position of Senior Vice President of Global Creative for Capitol Music Group, it was announced today by Chairman & CEO Steve Barnett, to whom Grimes will report. According to the announcement, in her new position, Grimes will be integrally involved in formulating and executing the company’s global [...]

  • Kevin Hart

    Why Kevin Hart's Mea Culpa Was Too Little, Too Late (Opinion)

    Forgive me if this sounds trite or preachy, but the importance of owning up to our mistakes cannot be overstated. Denials, silence, cover-ups, repudiation — all are unacceptable. Media outlets around the globe, including ours, wrote about how Kevin Hart initially took no responsibility for having posted disgusting homophobic tweets years ago that resurfaced when [...]

  • Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde, Industry Execs

    Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde, Industry Execs Sign Anti-Brexit Letter

    Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Paloma Faith, Ed Sheeran manager Stuart Camp and Grammy/Emmy award-winning film composer David Arnold and several leading UK music industry bodies are among the signees of a letter drafted by the new organization Music4EU, stating that Brexit “represents a significant threat to the UK’s music industry” and [...]

  • Kevin Hart Oscars Gay Tweet Controversy

    What Public Figures Should Learn From the Kevin Hart Oscars Debacle (Guest Column)

    When social media erupted over Kevin Hart’s anti-gay tweets from years ago, many in the media and the entertainment industry believed he would immediately apologize, LGBTQ people would critique but ultimately accept his mea culpa, and the comedian would go on to host the Academy Awards. If offenders make a commitment to do better, their [...]

  • Bob Bakish Variety Cover Story

    Inside Bob Bakish's Aggressive Turnaround Plan for Viacom

    Bob Bakish was days into his job as CEO of Viacom in late 2016 when he began convening meetings with senior executives to execute a triage effort to save the once-mighty media giant. Paramount Pictures had just posted a $445 million annual loss. Viacom’s cable networks were in danger of being dropped by major distributors [...]

  • Craig Hunegs WB

    Craig Hunegs to Exit Warner Bros. TV Group and Digital Networks (EXCLUSIVE)

    After nearly 25 years in the Warner Bros. family, Craig Hunegs is exiting his post as head of business for Warner Bros. TV Group and president of the studio’s digital networks wing. Hunegs said he has been discussing his exit with Warner Bros. chairman-CEO Kevin Tsujihara for the past several months. At a time of [...]

  • 'Walking Dead' Profits Dispute Heading to

    'Walking Dead' Profits Dispute Heading to Trial

    The long-running legal battle between Frank Darabont and AMC over profits from “The Walking Dead” will run a bit longer, as a judge ruled Monday that the case must go to trial. Darabont and CAA sued the network back in 2013, arguing he was deprived of $280 million in profit participation because AMC did not [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content