Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington from October 11th to 12th to meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
In the past three years since the US President Donald Trump took office, the cabinet and the staff of the staff have changed constantly, almost refreshing the records of their predecessors. However, there is almost no one in the status of one person, that is, Mnuchin. This year’s UN conference and many international diplomatic occasions, Mnuchin is a rare Trump aides who have always been inseparable. Most of the “colleagues” who entered the White House with him during the same period were either expelled from Trump or forced to leave. At least some of the positions have changed, and some have returned to the campaign team to work for Trump.
As early as the first anniversary of Trump’s administration, Trump’s personnel replacement frequency has broken the 100-year record. As of September this year, Trump has replaced three chief of staff, three national security consultants, and three homeland security ministers. In the past three years, the Trump administration has had 66 aides left. Among them, there were 21 aides who were expelled or forced to resign.
Since Mnuchin has served as the finance minister, there has been little controversy. Instead, he has balanced the relationship with Trump in the trade war with China, and is able to coordinate and trade representatives such as Robert Lighthizer. Relationship between. For now, his biggest task is to cooperate with Wright Heze, responsible for trade negotiations with other countries. China-US trade negotiations are a top priority.
Mnuchin is also a rare insider of the Trump administration who clearly stated that he will not resign. The reason why he can persist in the Trump administration until now is related to the following three factors.
The first is loyalty. Trump values the loyalty of the aides.
Mnuchin joined the Trump team since the Trump campaign and served as the chairman of the finances. After being nominated, he succeeded in taking advantage of the Republican Party’s absolute superiority in the Senate. With the connection between Mnuchin and Wall Street, Trump, who is a businessman, can basically find common words with Mnuchin. When Trump campaigned and when he came to power, he determined that businessmen could better run the government and hire the best people. And the good people include Wall Street people like Mnuchin.
Second, the US Treasury Secretary is generally not caught in a political struggle.
This is just like the fact that the defense chief rarely involves political positions and political struggles. In recent decades, most of the resignation of finance ministers has not been directly related to political struggle. The finance minister is a member of the US President’s Cabinet and a member of the National Security Council, ranking fifth in the presidential succession order. Since 2003, part of the US Treasury Secretary’s design of national security and defense has been transferred to the newly established Department of Homeland Security, such as the US Customs and Secret Service, and other law enforcement agencies, began to be solely responsible for financial and financial affairs.
In the past 20 years, some of the finance ministers who have been forced to resign have resigned because of their own disputes, and some have resigned because they are not in line with the president. For example, Paul Henry O’Neill, the first Treasury secretary of the George W. Bush period, was forced to resign because of a serious disagreement with the small Bush on the tax cut. O’Neill was also criticized at the time for alleging that Little Bush had hoped to invade Iraq too early. John William Snow, who succeeded O’Neill, was later forced to resign because of a conflict of personal bond interests. A few months before the mid-term elections in 2006, Little Bush asked Hank Paulson to replace the troubled Snow as Treasury Secretary. Paulson later became the most important cabinet member of the Little Bush government.
During the Barack Obama period, Timothy Geithner was a strong finance minister, but he also faced resignation pressure in the AIG huge dividends of AIG, and finally persisted under Obama’s support. In particular, Geithner’s political stance is tough on the issue of the manipulation of the RMB exchange rate.
Mnuchin has not had any controversy so far, and there is no rumor of resignation. Trump has not expressed public dissatisfaction with him. In the personnel changes after the mid-term elections in 2018, and the key points of the previous personnel reshuffle, Mnuchin is not in the list. Even with the call to resign, I hope that Mnuchin will not play for Trump. For example, at the beginning of Trump’s tenure in 2017, 300 Nurem alumni of Nunchin wrote a joint open letter asking him to resign in protest against Trump’s “racial hatred.”
The last and most important factor is that he understands the contingency, does not involve politics, and naturally protects himself.
At the beginning of Trump’s administration, Mnuchin formed a political alliance with the White House senior adviser Jared Kushner to cope with the radical forces within the White House and played a positive and moderate role in relations with China. Even in the China-US trade war, Mnuchin has repeatedly opposed tax increases, especially against China as a currency manipulator. But his opposition did not make Trump tired. Mnuchin eventually stood on the front line with Trump.
In the China-US trade war negotiations, the change of Mnuchin’s position from moderate to tough, and then from tough to pragmatic, is closely related to Trump’s own demands for change. Even after the Argentine Chamber of Commerce, Trump biased the economic and trade powers to Trade Representative Letshize, and Mnuchin did not seem to have any complaints. Instead, he could coordinate with each other’s positions and deal with China’s negotiating leader Liu He. How to change the power status of Mnuchin in the future depends on the outcome of trade negotiations. The “dual group” of trade negotiations he formed with Wright Heze will basically be a glory and a loss. This is the best political situation in Mnuchin.
Of course, Trump’s frequent replacement of personnel has also made him seem more difficult to fill the gap. Now, the top six cabinet members, except the vice president, have changed in other positions, even if Mike Pompeo is transferred to the Secretary of State by the CIA. If the status of the finance minister changes, it will inevitably lead to a reshuffle of the Trump trade negotiation team, and the negotiations will inevitably come back. This is also one of the reasons why Trump continues to rely on the people of Lettheiser and Mnuchin for the re-election campaign.