Donald Trump, a candidate who ran on promises to “drain the swamp” of the Washington elite, will form the wealthiest administration in modern American history, The Washington Post reports. Among his nominees are “several multimillionaires, an heir to a family mega-fortune and two Forbes-certified billionaires,” according to the Post.
Trump’s Cabinet and administration combined could be worth as much as $35 billion, according to Politico, while the median U.S. household income is about $55,000. So these appointees are very much not like the average American.
This may be surprising, given that Trump was largely elected due to his ability to appeal to the working class. He promised to dismantle the “rigged” economy that he claimed favored Wall Street elites and Washington insiders. Trump’s choices for office have received some backlash from people who say that the mega-rich don’t have what it takes to understand and respond to the needs of regular Americans.
“These picks are a betrayal of his message to working-class voters,” Neera Tanden, the president of Center for American Progress and a Clinton confidante, told Politico. “Trump claimed he would fight the global elite billionaire class; instead, he’s handing them the keys to agency after agency.”
Trump’s nominees include Wilbur Ross, who has a fortune of $2.5 billion, for commerce secretary. Steven Mnuchin, who Trump named to head the Treasury Department, is a hedge fund executive and former Goldman Sachs executive. The family of Betsy DeVos, who was named Trump’s education secretary despite her lack of classroom or even public school experience, has a net worth of $5.1 billion.
While it is unclear how these choices will impact Trump’s administration or policy, it is important to know the history of the people who will soon hold the most powerful positions in the country.