(CBS) — Steven Mnuchin was sworn in as the next treasury secretary on Monday night after the U.S. Senate voted 53-47 to confirm him as treasury secretary.
Mnuchin was expected to be confirmed. His confirmation came in spite of strong objections by Democrats that the former banker made much of his fortune by foreclosing on struggling homeowners during the financial crisis.
President Donald Trump says Mnuchin spent his entire career making money in the private sector and now will go to work for the American taxpayer. Trump said Americans should know that “our nation’s financial system is truly in great hands.”
Republicans said Steven Mnuchin’s long tenure in finance makes him qualified to run the Treasury Department, which will play a big role in developing Trump’s economic policy.
“He has experience managing large and complicated private-sector enterprises and in negotiating difficult compromises and making tough decisions – and being accountable for those decisions,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Finance Committee.
The Senate also confirmed a less divisive nominee Monday evening, physician David Shulkin, to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The vote was unanimous.
Votes on Trump’s Cabinet nominees have exposed deep partisan divisions in the Republican-controlled Senate, with many of the picks approved by mostly party-line votes.
The vote on Mnuchin was expected to follow the pattern. A separate vote on the president’s choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, was expected to be far less rancorous.
Like others chosen for Trump’s Cabinet, Mnuchin is a wealthy businessman. He is a former top executive at Goldman Sachs and served as finance chairman for Trump’s presidential campaign.