Is Mnuchin a Democrat?COVID-19
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I think Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin deserves a dedicated article, given that I probably say his name on my YouTube channel more than I say the name of my own son and wife combined. So let’s talk about Stevie, I kind of relate to him, you know, because he’s not very popular in D.C. frankly, you know? But he’s an interesting guy, he’s made movies — I’ll talk a little bit more about that — he’s got the trophy wife almost twenty years younger than him, he owns a fat mansion in Bel Air, and he was born with a silver spoon, basically as the son of a Goldman Sachs partner, so he was born on home plate or at least sliding into home plate.
Mnuchin’s political views
And he’s been able to accomplish something quite difficult, and that is to simultaneously not really be liked by either Nancy Pelosi nor Mitch McConnell. Basically, everyone in Congress hates him, and I got to thinking, why, why is Mnuchin the way he is? I got to digging into it, and it turns out that a lot of people have speculated that Secretary Mnuchin is in fact a Democrat, and that’s what I want to talk to you about in this article.
Connections to Trump
Keep in mind that this is still a guy who worked on Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016, and who was confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury by the Senate in 2017 by a vote that basically went along party lines. One of the first things he said after being confirmed was that he wanted to use the position to help make America great again, and since then he has pretty consistently supported Trump’s tax cuts and some other conservative policies, so there have been a lot of indications that he’s pretty clearly on the Republican side, at least on economic issues.
Donations to Kamala Harris
But is Steve just playing a role here? The first point that made me question my assumption that Mnuchin is a strong Republican was a report about his history as a campaign donor. Even though he was a part of Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, he actually donated $2,000 to Kamala Harris’ campaign for the US Senate in the same year. And his wife Heather Mnuchin followed that up with another donation of $2,700 early on in 2019 when Harris was getting ready to launch her campaign for president, obviously this was before Biden won the primary and she became part of his ticket.
So it’s not like he donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign or something like that, he wasn’t necessarily going against Trump, but still I don’t think most Republicans were supporting Kamala Harris for Senate in 2016. I don’t want to read too much into his wife’s donations, she doesn’t necessarily speak for him or vice versa, but it’s interesting that they have a history of supporting Kamala Harris.
Other political donations
Donation histories are actually public information, so you can look online and see which campaigns he has donated to, and he has a total of 89 listed donations going back to 1999. Unfortunately they don’t paint a very clear picture of his politics—there are a lot of Democrats, a lot of Republicans, and a lot of interest groups like America Coming Together and the League of Conservation Voters. So you’ll recognize some of these names, he donated to Chuck Schumer, he donated to John Kerry and Obama, and he donated to Hillary Clinton a number of times, but he also donated to Giuliani in 2007, Mitt Romney in 2012, and a few other Republican politicians.
His donations have started to skew more toward Republicans and Republican organizations since he was linked to Trump’s campaign. So since 2016 he’s donated to Trump, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, and the Republican parties of Tennessee, New Jersey, South Carolina, Mississippi, Virginia, West Virginia, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Louisiana plus the Republican National Committee.
But on the other hand, he has the 2016 donation to Kamala Harris, one to Maria Cantwell in 2017, and another 2016 donation to Michael Wildes who he also donated to in May of 2020. So even though he was nominated and confirmed at a pretty partisan moment, he hasn’t completely turned his back on the Democratic party. Now he has described most of these donations as personal favors, so maybe there’s nothing to read into here, but at the same time I don’t think most Republican politicians have a history of donating to Democratic candidates like Barack Obama.
Another thing I think a lot of people don’t know about Steven Mnuchin is that he actually has a history in Hollywood, of course he’s known more for politics than movies, but he was in the private sector for most of his life up until joining the Trump campaign.
Mnuchin founded a hedge fund called Dune Capital in 2004, which invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Hollywood movies including Avatar, X-Men, and The Devil Wears Prada. This isn’t something I thought I would ever write, but here’s a link to Steven Mnuchin’s IMDB page in case you want to see how many films he’s been involved with. So I’m not going to go through the full list, but he’s credited as an executive producer on some really big movies, Suicide Squad, American Sniper, Lego Batman, Wonder Woman, et cetera. Again you don’t necessarily need to be on the left to be in Hollywood, but I think it’s clear that anyone who’s involved in movies on that kind of scale is going to be rubbing elbows with a lot of Democrats, and if you’re a hard core Trumpkin, you might have trouble in Tinsel Town.
Now the main area where this has come up recently has been on the stimulus. Obviously the Republicans and Democrats have been really far apart on this issue, and that gets complicated when one party has the House of Representatives while the other has the Senate and the White House.
So of course there’s going to be a back and forth, in most cases neither side is going to get exactly what they want, but there were some reports earlier in October that Republicans in the Senate weren’t happy with how much Mnuchin was willing to give up to Pelosi and the Democrats when it came to the details of a potential second stimulus bill. Some Republicans were even calling for Vice President Mike Pence to replace Secretary Mnuchin in stimulus negotiations because they felt that Pence would play a bit tougher with Democrats.
A lot of Senate Republicans were concerned about overspending, especially with the national debt soaring, in fact the total debt is expected to be greater than our annual GDP as soon as next year. Mnuchin, on the other hand, was willing to go to $1.9 trillion, almost two trillion dollars on a second stimulus.
Yes, that’s lower than the HEROES Act and what Pelosi is pushing for, but still $1.9 trillion was basically a non-starter for many G.O.P. Senators. Rick Scott, Marsha Blackburn, Lamar Alexander, and Mike Lee, all really respected Senators, and they’re just a few of the high-profile politicians who have voiced opposition to how close Trump and Mnuchin have come to the stimulus plan that’s being offered by Pelosi and other Democrats in the house.
Ultimately I can’t tell you whether Steven Mnuchin is a Democrat, a Republican, or somewhere in between, but these are just a few situations where he hasn’t looked like the typical Republican, at least to me. Of course, he’s been in Trump’s camp recently on the stimulus negotiations, but there’s clearly a divide between most Republican Senators on one hand and Mnuchin on the other, while Trump is kind of just, he just wanted something going into the election.
Now I know a lot of you have been following the stimulus along with me, I’m sure you have your own ideas on this, so it would be great to read your comments on Steven Mnuchin and how he has handled the stimulus negotiations throughout 2020. As always, make sure to leave your thoughts below, thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it, and I will see you next time.
Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.