When Donald Trump was assembling his Cabinet last winter, a certain criteria for his nominees emerged. No, not years of experience that would equip them with the knowledge necessary to run the departments atop which they would be installed. And certainly not a belief in the mission of the agency they were to lead, instead of outright contempt for it. Rather, what Trump was looking for were people who were filthy stinking rich; indeed, in some cases, it appeared that being rich was the only prerequisite for the gig. In December, he defended his hiring practices by saying in an Iowa “thank you” speech, “I want people that made a fortune.” Last night, he further detailed his thinking.
In the midst of a campaign-style rally in Cedar Falls, Iowa, during which he discussed agriculture and vocational training for farmers, Trump apparently decided that now was the time to be frank about his preference for only hiring the cartoonishly wealthy: men like former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn and wannabe 19th-century robber baron Wilbur Ross. Because at the end of the day, Trump explained, he doesn’t want “a poor person” in charge of the economy.
“Somebody said, ‘Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy?’” Trump told the crowd. “[And] I said: ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’” Trump went on to explain to the unwashed masses that Ross and Cohn “had to give up a lot to take these jobs” and that the former Goldman No. 2 “went from massive paydays to peanuts.” (Cohn is not taking a salary for his White House job, which would ordinarily pay close to $180,000 a year—more than three times the median household income in Iowa.)