Nets Tout Trump ‘Under Fire’ for ‘Pirate Yacht’ of ‘Wealthiest Cabinet in History’

On Thursday, all three network morning shows recited the same liberal, class-warfare attack lines in response to President-elect Donald Trump nominating billionaire Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary and Wall Street executive Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary, fretting that the picks would create the “wealthiest cabinet in history.”

At the top of NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted Trump’s upcoming “victory lap” tour through the Midwest “As his top cabinet picks come under fire for ties to bailouts and Wall Street.” She declared: “Critics saying this is not how you drain the swamp.”

In the report that followed minutes later, correspondent Kristen Welker announced: “Meanwhile, there is new scrutiny this morning of one of Mr. Trump's other top promises, draining the Washington swamp...” She touted “Democrats pouncing” and played a clip of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren ranting: “What Donald Trump is doing is he’s literally handing the keys to the Treasury over to a Wall Street banker who helped cause the crash.”

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Wrapping up a report on the Trump transition on ABC’s Good Morning America, correspondent Tom Llamas warned: The Washington Post points out this morning that Trump is assembling what could be the wealthiest cabinet in the history of this country. Trump campaigned against Wall Street and he also said he was going to drain the swamp, yet, he's filling his cabinet with billionaires, millionaires, and some Washington insiders.”

Discussing the issue with political analyst Matt Dowd moments later, co-host George Stephanopoulos promoted partisan plans to interrogate the appointees: “...you’ve got two billionaires being nominated now to the cabinet....Democrats signaling they're going to push hard for tax returns from all these nominees as they come up for confirmation.”

Dowd quipped: “You know, before the election was over before election night and right after I described the trump group as a pirate ship. Well, some of these nominees it looks like it's a pirate yacht...”

He excitedly predicted that “the confirmation hearings are going to be some of the most spectacular theater that we have seen,” with Democrats raising “all of those questions that are in such contrast to many things Donald Trump said during the campaign.”

On CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King told viewers: “As a candidate, Mr. Trump was quick to criticize Wall Street, but that is where he found two key figures for his economic team....The appointment raises questions about Mr. Trump's economic agenda...”

Correspondent Major Garrett emphasized “the scrutiny of not-so populist cabinet secretaries nominated so far” and argued that “Mr. Trump’s choice of Mnuchin for Treasury and billionaire businessman Wilbur Ross for Commerce signals a turning away from candidate Trump's attacks on Wall Street corruption.”

In the 7:30 a.m. ET hour, co-host Norah O’Donnell followed ABC’s lead in citing criticism of the wealth of Trump’s team:

The Washington Post says Donald Trump is assembling the wealthiest administration in modern American history. His nominees include several multimillionaires and two billionaires. Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross has a net worth $2.5 billion and the family of Education nominee Betsy Devos has a net worth of $5 million.

Here are excerpts of the December 1 coverage on all three morning shows:

Today
7:00 AM ET TEASE

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Victory lap. President-elect Trump kicking off his thank you tour today with stops in Indiana and Ohio. As his top cabinet picks come under fire for ties to bailouts and Wall Street. Critics saying this is not how you drain the swamp.

(...)

7:08 AM ET SEGMENT

DONALD TRUMP [NOVEMBER 7, 2016]: Drain the swamp!

WELKER: Meanwhile, there is new scrutiny this morning of one of Mr. Trump's other top promises, draining the Washington swamp, after Mr. Trump named billionaire Wilber Ross as his Commerce Secretary and Wall Street insider turned Hollywood financier Steve Mnuchin as his Treasury Secretary. Democrats pouncing.
                
ELIZABETH WARREN: What Donald Trump is doing is he’s literally handing the keys to the Treasury over to a Wall Street banker who helped cause the crash.

WELKER: But transition officials pushing back.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI [TRUMP ADVISER]: Both of these guys are – they do fit the outsider bill in the sense that they never worked in Washington.

(...)


GMA
7:09 AM ET

(...)

TOM LLAMAS: And as Trump hosts that event at Carrier to show he's fighting for the working class, The Washington Post points out this morning that Trump is assembling what could be the wealthiest cabinet in the history of this country. Trump campaigned against Wall Street and he also said he was going to drain the swamp yet he's filling his cabinet with billionaires, millionaires, and some Washington insiders.

(...)

7:10 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Meanwhile, as Tom mentioned, you’ve got two billionaires being nominated now to the cabinet. Steve Mnuchin worth probably several hundred million dollars as well and Democrats signaling they're going to push hard for tax returns from all these nominees as they come up for confirmation.

MATT DOWD: You know, before the election was over before election night and right after I described the Trump group as a pirate ship. Well, some of these nominees it looks like it's a pirate yacht that we've seen unfold in this. I think the confirmation hearings are going to be some of the most spectacular theater that we have seen just from all the questions from the Attorney General, from the Treasury, from all of those questions that are in such contrast to many things Donald Trump said during the campaign.

(...)


CBS This Morning
7:11 AM ET

GAYLE KING: As a candidate, Mr. Trump was quick to criticize Wall Street, but that is where he found two key figures for his economic team. He chose former Goldman Sachs partner Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary. The appointment raises questions about Mr. Trump's economic agenda above and beyond helping manufacturers. Major Garrett is covering the transition for us and joins bus the latest. Major, good morning.

MAJOR GARRETT: Good morning. Let's talk about Carrier for a second. The economic grease behind that deal is pretty conventional. Promises of tax cuts and possibly contracts. But the timing and the political benefits are hardly conventional. Carrier gives the President-elect an economic victory in the heartland, one that aides say is likely to eclipse all speculation, fevered and otherwise, about future cabinet picks and the scrutiny of not-so populist cabinet secretaries nominated so far.

(...)

7:12 AM ET

GARRETT: Mr. Trump’s choice of Mnuchin for Treasury and billionaire businessman Wilbur Ross for Commerce signals a turning away from candidate Trump's attacks on Wall Street corruption.

DONALD TRUMP: When you cast that ballot, just picture a Wall Street boardroom filled the special interests who have been bleeding your country and your city and every place else. I'm not going to let Wall Street get away with murder. Wall Street has caused tremendous problems for us.

(...)

7:32 AM ET

NORAH O’DONNELL: The Washington Post says Donald Trump is assembling the wealthiest administration in modern American history. His nominees include several multimillionaires and two billionaires. Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross has a net worth $2.5 billion and the family of Education nominee Betsy Devos has a net worth of $5 million.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC