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Sun Mar 5, 2017, 05:37 PM

Donald Trump Has 1.26 Billion Reasons to Hire Stephen Feinberg

The private-equity billionaire may not have the usual qualifications, but he sure has one hell of a bank account.

Source: Vanity Fair, by Bess Levin


There’s Education Secretary Betsy Devos, who’s family is worth something in the range of $5.6 billion. There’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who clocks in at $2.5 billion, though he wishes it were more. There’s Deputy Commerce Secretary Todd Ricketts, whose Chicago Cubs–owning family is worth $5.3 billion. There’s Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon who, thanks to World Wrestling Entertainment, sits on a $1.6 billion fortune. There’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose exact net worth is unknown but, thanks to serving as C.E.O. of oil giant ExxonMobil for years, is thought to be have some several hundred million to his name. That’s not to mention the lesser millionaires, like Goldman Sachs partner turned hedge-fund manager turned movie producer Steven Mnuchin; Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson, who reportedly has around $26 million in the bank; and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who, along with her husband, Mitch McConnell, bring about $20 million to the table.

There are also, of course, the handful of additional billionaires farther out in Trump orbit. Carl Icahn, a special adviser on regulatory matters, is worth approximately $16.4 billion and counting. Stephen Schwarzman, the chair of Trump’s economic advisory panel, is comfortable at $11.6 billion. But Donald “I want people who made a fortune” Trump always has room for another billionaire in his stable, which is perhaps why he is considering adding private-equity executive Stephen Feinberg (net worth: $1.26 billion) to his roster. For those who enjoy reading the Trumpian tea leaves, it appears Feinberg is moving closer to joining the team. Per Bloomberg:

Feinberg, the billionaire Wall Street investor who has held talks to take a national-security role in President Trump’s administration, joined the president in a visit to an aircraft carrier on Thursday.

Photos and video of the event show Feinberg accompanying Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis on their way to the USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Virginia. Feinberg, the founder of the $30 billion Cerberus Capital Management LP, has held discussions about jobs including one overseeing a review of the U.S. intelligence agencies.

As Bloomberg notes, “The potential appointment has spurred controversy, partly because Feinberg hasn’t worked in government or national security since serving in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in college.” O.K., sure, but this is Donald Trump’s America, and lacking actual qualifications for a job should not be viewed as an impediment to getting said job. Especially when the number next to your name gives your wealth-obsessed potential employer some 1.26 billion reasons to offer you the job.


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