Donald Trump's Bumbled Wall Street Love Affair

Donald Trump, Wall Street, Wilbur Ross, Steve Mnuchin, Anthony Scaramucci, Carl Icahn, Marc Faber, Jamie Dimon, Tom Barrack

Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Picture: Sarah Josephine Taleb, Wikimedia Commons)

Wall Street was slow to warm to Donald Trump, backing his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton instead. Now, several hedge fund executives and financiers are lining up for a prominent place at the president-elect’s table.

Hillary Clinton's long-standing and opaque ties to Wall Street banks and other corporate donors came back to haunt her in the general election, as reported last week. 

Donald Trump’s Wall Street ties are equally long-standing, but centered around his real estate business. Even there, his ties aren't deep: an electoral disclosure earlier this year indicating that most of the large U.S. investment banks like Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, weren't lending to Trump.

This is perhaps because they had been dissed publicly by Trump almost ten years ago, when he was building a reality-show celebrity image.

«Deal Was No Goddamn Good»

In a 2007 book, Trump wrote of a $40 million corporate loan from Deutsche Bank that wasn't repaid: «I figured it was the bank’s problem, not mine».

«What the hell did I care? I actually told one bank, ‘I told you you shouldn’t have loaned me that money. I told you that goddamn deal was no good,'» Trump wrote in a book.

He later boasted of personal ties to the head of Deutsche Bank, but stumbled: he was referring to a senior private banker in the German lender's New York office, it emerged.

John Paulson (pictured below), the U.S. hedge fund titan who famously benefited from the subprime crisis by betting on a property collapse, was an early policy advisor, but the bulk of Trump's top financial advisors didn’t come together until recently. Those now closely affiliated with him include distressed debt billionaire Wilbur Ross, hedge fund executive Anthony Scaramucci and former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin.

John Paulson

Faber, Taleb, Icahn

«Black Swan» author Nassim Nicholas Taleb is another prominent backer, and one of the few to actually call the election for Trump. He also said a Trump presidency wouldn't be as disastrous as many observers believe. Billionaire activist Carl Icahn and gloom and doom prophet Marc Faber (pictured below) also publicly supported Trump.

Another backer is Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and Palantir, a prominent Silicon Valley data analysis firm which has a joint venture called Signac with Credit Suisse which is meant to root out rogue bankers before they can wreak financial havoc on the bank. 

Thiel, Scaramucci and Mnuchin are part of 16-person so-called transition team which is responsible for helping Trump name cabinet members and other key White House roles as well as roughly 1,000 jobs which roll over with each administration.

While banking giants such as J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon supported Clinton, Trump’s Wall Street fans are definitely eating lower on the food chain. Earlier this year Mnuchin was producing Tarzan and Joker movies, Scaramucci was reviving a 1970s TV show to star himself, and another, Tom Barrack, was trying to sell Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch, as «Bloomberg» reported.

Marc Faber 500

Wall Street's Second Tier

All that has changed: Mnuchin is now the front-runner the powerful Treasury Secretary position, and Scaramucci, who runs hedge fund Skybridge Capital, has mused about what joining the administration permanently would mean for him. They are hardly the rank of Wall Street tycoons that have flocked to other presidents, but a start nevertheless.

Dimon himself has been approached by Trump’s team about the Treasury position, according to several media reports, in a bid to restore ties to Wall Street. The position has in recent years been stacked by Wall Street and corporate America: George W. Bush had three Treasury Secretaries, one a former Goldman Sachs boss and another the former head of U.S. industrial giant Alcoa.

Dimon, who has said in the past that he isn’t interested in a Cabinet position, is not thought to have been receptive to Trump’s advances.


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