President-elect Donald Trump gives the thumbs up as he arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse, on Nov. 20, 2016 in Bedminster, N.J.
Photograph by Carolyn Kaster—AP

After his election

By Chris Matthews
December 2, 2016

What a difference winning a presidential election makes.

A common criticism of the Donald Trump presidential campaign was that despite his background as a business titan and his status as one of America’s richest men, he had little support from establishment CEOs and business leaders who are his peers.

But with the Trump transition team’s announcement of the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, that has all changed. According to a Trump transition press release, the President-elect has assembled some of the biggest names in American business “to meet with the President frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the President implements his plan to bring back jobs and Make America Great Again.”

The members of the Forum include:

  • Stephen A. Schwarzman (Forum Chairman), Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of Blackstone;
  • Paul Atkins, CEO, Patomak Global Partners, LLC, Former Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission;
  • Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors;
  • Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic;
  • Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co;
  • Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock;
  • Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company;
  • Rich Lesser, President and CEO, Boston Consulting Group;
  • Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.;
  • Jim McNerney, Former Chairman, President, and CEO, Boeing;
  • Adebayo “Bayo” Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner, Global Infrastructure Partners;
  • Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President, and CEO, IBM;
  • Kevin Warsh, Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Economics, Hoover Institute, Former Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System;
  • Mark Weinberger, Global Chairman and CEO, EY;
  • Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO, General Electric;
  • Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winner, Vice Chairman of IHS Markit;

The list is notable not just because it represents the America’s corporate establishment finally getting aboard the Trump train, but because of where specifically these members hail from. Despite the Trump campaign’s anti-Wall Street rhetoric during the campaign, the Forum includes many big names from Wall Street firms like BlackStone, BlackRock, and JPMorgan. This continues a theme of the Trump transition, whereby the president-elect has shown his willingness to bring big Wall Street players into his inner circle.

It is also in contrast to a President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which was formed in 2009 for a similar reason: to advise the president on strategies for improving the American economy. That council was noticeably light on big Wall Street names, even as the President took what in hindsight was a big-bank friendly approach to containing the financial crisis.

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