President Donald Trump said he’d prefer not to have a “poor person” in top economic positions in his administration during a 2020 campaign rally on Wednesday.
Despite campaign promises to “drain the swamp” of special and elitist interests in politics, since taking office in January, Trump has amassed one of the wealthiest Cabinets in the country’s history.
“I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?” Trump asked a cheering crowd at the rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Trump told supporters he would consider a “poor person” for such roles, should his supporters insist.
“But I like it better this way,” he said.
Trump picked billionaire Wilbur Ross, who made a fortune buying up distressed companies, as commerce secretary and appointed Todd Ricketts, a member of the billionaire family that owns the Chicago Cubs, as his deputy.
“Somebody said, 'Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy?' No, it’s true. And Wilbur’s a very rich person in charge of commerce," Trump said. "I said, ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’”
The Trump cabinet has been padded with the likes of Betsy DeVos, the billionaire education secretary, and — despite vocal condemnations of Hillary Clinton’s ties to the Wall Street banks on the 2016 presidential campaign trail — Trump appointed former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary and picked former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn as one of his chief economic advisers.
“When you get the president of Goldman Sachs… this is the president of Goldman Sachs. Smart! Having him represent us — he went from massive paydays to peanuts — these are people that are great, brilliant business minds. That’s what we need, that’s what we have to have so the world doesn’t take advantage of us,” Trump said.
He defended Cohn and suggested that Trump cabinet picks “had to give up a lot to take these jobs. Cohn walked away from Goldman Sachs in January to take a spot with the Trump administration, securing $285 million payout to add to his $600 million net worth.