Trump Turns to Business Titans Despite Campaign's Populist Rhetoric

Then-candidate Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail he would “drain the swamp” once in office. But so far as president-elect, he’s turned to Wall Street’s industry captains for advice and input as the administration works to advance its economic agenda.

Trump announced Dec. 2 he has established a forum of business leaders to share experiences and perspectives on the effects of government economic policy.

Trump evoked a populist message on the campaign trail.

The President’s Strategic and Policy Forum will be chaired by Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of the world’s largest private equity real estate investor, New York-based Blackstone.

Schwarzman will join other business elites including General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra; JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon; Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger; IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty; and former Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney.

Lacking from this list are any environmental, labor or public interest groups. The Trump transition team did not immediately provide comment on their absence. 

Members of the forum are tasked with giving the president-elect direct input on job creation, productivity and economic growth, according to a statement released by the transition team.

The forum, comprised of some of Wall Street’s most successful, might be a step away from the more populist message the president-elect used on the campaign trail, but falls in line with the recent stream of cabinet nominees including billionaire Wilbur Ross and former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin. 

“My administration is committed to drawing on private sector expertise and cutting the government red tape that is holding back our businesses from hiring, innovating and expanding right here in America,” Trump said in a statement issued by Blackstone.

The forum will begin meeting at the White House in February.



This post was written by Bloomberg BNA reporter Maeve Allsup.