President Trump got defensive on Wednesday and gave this explanation for why he has one of the wealthiest cabinets in history: “I love all people — rich or poor –, but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person,” Trump said at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “Does that make sense? If you insist, I’ll do it — but I like it better this way.”
President Trump named billionaire Wilbur Ross as his commerce secretary and Todd Ricketts as deputy commerce secretary. Ross made a fortune by putting together dying companies, and Ricketts is a member of a billionaire family that owns the Chicago Cubs. Trump’s cabinet also includes billionaire Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary and former Goldman Sachs executive, Steven Mnuchin, as Treasury Secretary.
The president told the crowd, “Somebody said, ‘Why’d you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy?’ I said, ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want. They’re representing the country. They don’t want the money. They’re representing the country. They had to give up a lot to take these jobs. They gave up a lot,” he said.
President Trump’s chief economic adviser is Gary Cohn. He is a former Goldman Sachs president. Cohn and Wilbur Ross were at the rally with Trump. Cohn walked away from Goldman with almost $300 million. “When you get the president of Goldman Sachs, smart,” Trump said. “Having him represent us, he went from massive paydays to peanuts.”
The president took aim at the investment bank when he was on the campaign trail, bashing them for having too much influence in politics and for paying Hillary Clinton hundreds of thousands for her speeches. But now Trump is giving those same people places of prominence within his government. He maintains that they are needed saying, they “are great, brilliant business minds. And that’s what we need. That’s what we have to have so the world doesn’t take advantage,” Trump added. “We can’t have the world taking advantage of us anymore. And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?”
Does it make sense to you? What are your thoughts about Trump’s picks for leadership? What do you think about him saying that he didn’t want a poor person serving?
You can watch his full speech below: