Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin may become the youngest White House official to get the shoe. President Donald Trump has been mad at Mnuchin for some time, and the continued decline in stock markets may be the latest shock, reports Bloomberg. One source told Bloomberg that the president was considering firing Mnuchin, while another said that the question of whether he stays or not depends in large part on what happens to the markets.
If Trump was not so happy with his Finance Minister, what he did before Christmas Eve certainly did not help. Mnuchin shook nervous markets this weekend when he said that the heads of the country's six largest banks had told him that they had "plenty of liquidity" to hold loans. Given that this has never been considered a serious concern, many have seen it as either a big mistake or a sign that the government knows something the rest of the world does not know. On Monday, he then convened members of the president's working group on financial markets, which also raised concern that the problems in the economy could be more serious than expected.
This, in addition to Trump's continued anger at Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, caused the market to sink to the steepest losses on Christmas Eve for decades. The Dow Jones industry average on the shortened trading day fell 653 points or just under 3 percent. By contrast, the benchmark S & P 500 fell 2.7 percent.
When the markets go back, "the president is looking for a scapegoat," notes Bloomberg. Mnuchin and Mick Mulvaney, the incoming White House chief of staff, said the president knew he could not fire Powell. That means Trump is looking for someone to take the blame. And if he looks at Mnuchin, there will not be many in the White House who will stand up for him. "There are many people in the White House who are not fans of Mnuchin and who like to throw him under the bus," says Stephen Myrow, executive partner of Beacon Policy Advisors in Washington and former finance minister, to Bloomberg. "So far, he has been protected by the fact that Trump liked him and he was a loyalist."
Help us continue to handle the news and topics that are important to you – and
get ad-free podcasts and bonus segments,
Member-only content and other great benefits.
Join Slate Plus