“The establishment,” Donald Trump famously said during his closing argument for the presidency, “has trillions of dollars at stake in this election.”
He described “a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”
He asked the country to be “brave enough to vote out this corrupt establishment.”
Now, less than four weeks after riding that line to victory, he formally invited the establishment into his administration.
On Friday, Trump announced the creation of a “Strategic and Policy Forum” that will serve to advise him on domestic economic matters. The list of advisers is a who’s-who of corporate elites.
He’s not the only one making a major turnaround; many of them had previously and enthusiastically supported his Democratic opponent.
The chairman of the forum is Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of the Blackstone Group, a private equity and investment banking giant. Blackstone blasted out the release highlighting the creation of the forum this morning on its own website, saying that it is “composed of some of America’s most highly respected and successful business leaders,” who “will be called upon to meet with the President frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the President implements his plan to bring back jobs and Make America Great Again.”
Although Schwarzman is a Republican, his company — like so much of Wall Street — spent much of the campaign getting close to Hillary Clinton. Blackstone’s Chief Operating Officer Hamilton “Tony” James hosted a fundraiser for Clinton in December 2015 that featured, among others, Democratic-aligned billionaire Warren Buffet. More than a dozen executives at the firm gave tens of thousands of dollars to Clinton’s campaign. The firm held an invitation-only, swanky reception at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Another member of the new advisory group is Larry Fink. Fink is the chairman and CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm. Fink spent years ingratiating himself with top Democrats and was once short-listed as a replacement for the Obama administration’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. He even hired former Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills to serve on the firm’s board of directors of his firm — and was poised to take over and staff Clinton’s Treasury Department.
Evidently, Fink has now jumped ship and joined the Making America Great Again team, and Trump, in turn, has no problem tapping him for advice.
Here is the full list:
- Stephen A. Schwarzman (forum chairman), chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Blackstone;
- Paul Atkins, CEO, Patomak Global Partners, LLC, former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission;
- Mary Barra, chairwoman and CEO, General Motors;
- Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic;
- Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co;
- Larry Fink, chairman and CEO, BlackRock;
- Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company;
- Rich Lesser, president and CEO, Boston Consulting Group;
- Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.;
- Jim McNerney, former chairman, president, and CEO, Boeing;
- Adebayo “Bayo” Ogunlesi, chairman and managing partner, Global Infrastructure Partners;
- Ginni Rometty, chairwoman, president, and CEO, IBM;
- Kevin Warsh, Shepard Family distinguished visiting fellow in economics, Hoover Institute, former member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System;
- Mark Weinberger, global chairman and CEO, EY;
- Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO, General Electric;
- Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize winner, vice chairman of IHS Markit;
General Motors CEO Mary Barra was thought of so dearly by the Clinton campaign that she was considered as a possible vice presidential pick — according to hacked emails released by Wikileaks.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerny has given thousands of dollars to top Democrats and lauded Clinton’s leadership at the State Department — which helped Boeing win contracts — while simultaneously funding the Clinton Foundation and helping sponsor paid speeches by former President Bill Clinton.
These are precisely the people Trump warned about when he darkly declared that “those who control the levers of power in Washington, … they partner with these people that don’t have your good in mind.” Now they’re all working together.