On August 5, 2016, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced the roster of a newly-formed economic policy team, including hedge fund managers, CEOs, academics, and chairmen of banks and other financial institutions. The team will advise Trump on matters of financial policy throughout the remainder of the campaign season and potentially beyond. Members of the team will include Tom Barrack, Andy Beal, Stephen M. Calk, Dan DiMicco, Steve Feinberg, Harold Hamm, Howard Lorber, David Malpass, Steven Mnuchin, Stephen Moore, Peter Navarro, John Paulson, and Steve Roth. Leading the group will be Stephen Miller, national director of policy, and Dan Kowalski, deputy director.
Executives in Financial and Real Estate Worlds
The newly-appointed policy team is particularly heavy on executives from the financial industry and the real estate world, Trump's own place of interest as a businessman. Leaders Miller and Kowalski have government experience as aides to Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Senate and House budget committees, respectively. The remaining members of the team, however, are largely without government experience. One exception is Malpass, who was deputy assistant Treasury secretary during Reagan's presidency. Beal, Lorber, and Roth have real estate backgrounds, while Malpass, Moore, and Navarro join the team as economists. Barrack, Feinberg, Mnuchin, and Paulson come from the financial world. Of these members, hedge fund manager Paulson is perhaps best known for his immense success betting on subprime mortgages in 2007, just before the crisis. Completing the list are Calk, DiMicco, and Hamm, from the banking, steel, and oil industries, respectively.
In its announcement of the new economic team, the Trump campaign indicated that it was likely to appoint additional members at a later time.
Notable Omissions From the Policy Team
Though the Trump campaign has made numerous comments indicating his interest in appointing the activist investor Carl Icahn to a top administration post if the Republican candidate is elected, Icahn was not included as a member of the policy team at this time. The reason for this, according to a spokesperson for Icahn, is that the hedge fund manager is considering creating a super PAC in support of widespread revisions to economic regulation, and his membership on the policy team would preclude that activity based on laws governing elections. Additionally, the list of the policy team, which includes an all-male membership to date, breaks from traditional Republican party practice by not including multiple members with previous experience in Republican presidential administrations.
To date, Trump has largely abandoned the standard campaign practice of delivering a structured platform of specific policies and proposals. Recently, however, his campaign has begun to reveal details about policies regarding veterans' affairs and infrastructure. The addition of an economic advisory team may mean that more specifics are on the way.