As part of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, various economists and businesspeople have served both in a formal and an informal capacity, to advise Trump on macroeconomics and associated government policy decisions. During the transition to the presidency, Trump gained additional advisors, and after the inauguration some of his advisors will officially become part of the Trump administration (including the NEC, NTC, advisors, czars, counselors, OMB, CEA, Treasury, Commerce, USTR, SBA, SEC, and the Fed) while others will remain in the private sector as informal advisors with varying degrees of influence.
Trump released initial details of his economic policies when his campaign officially began in June 2015, and more details during the first Republican debates which began in August 2015. Although critical of certain aspects of Trump's early economic plans, especially increasing tariffs as opposed to free trade policies, Larry Kudlow and Steve Moore would eventually[when?] agree to join the Trump campaign as advisors. Although most presidential candidates had announced a team of formal economic advisors by October 2015, at the time Trump still primarily relied upon his business background to inform his economic plan (Carly Fiorina was the other candidate who relied primarily upon her own background in business in the early phases of the campaign). In addition to his own business expertise, Trump had a network of contacts that sometimes served as informal economic advisors during his campaign, including Carl Icahn. Even as late as July 2016, however, Kudlow and Moore were still not official advisors, despite having already helped craft some of Trump's policy-positions related to taxation for instance.
Trump released a list of his campaign's official economic advisers in August 2016, which was significantly anti-establishment and therefore included few people with any governmental experience, yet at the same time aimed to include some of the elites of business and finance, primarily people with well-known names.
Although most of the names were new, existing Trump advisers David Malpass, Peter Navarro, Stephen Moore, and Dan DiMicco were also on the list, formally led by Stephen Miller, the national policy director, and directly led by deputy policy director Dan Kowalski. The Trump'16 finance director Steven Mnuchin was also listed, and played a role in helping coordinate the group. Many of the names on the original list, or on the subsequent expansions thereof, received media attention as potential appointees to the presidential Council of Economic Advisers, or in other Trump administration roles. As of August 2016, Trump's economic advisors included:
Several of the advisors were major donors to Trump's presidential campaign.
At first, only one of Trump's initial list of a dozen official advisors, Peter Navarro, had a PhD in economics. Although he had been in contact with Trump since 2011, Navarro had never met nor spoken with Trump directly in August 2016, but began to meet with Trump in person late in the 2016 campaign. A few days after Navarro was announced, Trump added Judy Shelton, an economist with a Ph.D in business administration to his team.
As of December 2016, many of the advisors during the campaign listed above are under consideration for cabinet-level roles or other high-level roles in the Trump administration. (For instance, Navarro is a contender for the CEA chair, and Shelton is a contender for Fed Vice-Chair.)
In addition to his statutory advisory groups, Trump is also organizing efforts to directly communicate with business leaders.
Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel originally backed fellow Californian and tech industry candidate Carly Fiorina, but implicitly endorsed Trump in May 2016, then spoke at the Republican National Convention that July. Thiel donated over a million dollars in October 2016. A few days after the general election, Thiel joined the executive committee of the Trump transition team, although Thiel said he was not seeking a full-time Trump administration position.
In addition to bringing some of his tech industry contacts to the Trump team, Thiel, along with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, helped organize a technology-CEO meeting in December 2016 for Trump and Pence, as well as a handful of appointees and transition team members.
|Attendee||Net worth||Position and company||Market cap||Trump administration|
|Jeff Bezos||$66,400 million||CEO of Amazon and Blue Origin||$372 billion||private sector|
|Larry Page||$39,500 million||CEO of Alphabet (Google parent)||$560 billion||private sector|
|Eric Schmidt||$11,500 million||Chairman of Alphabet (Google parent)||$560 billion||private sector|
|Donald Trump||$3,700 million||Owner of The Trump Organization||$100 billion||President|
|Wilbur Ross||$2,900 million||Former co-CEO at Invesco||$12 billion||Commerce|
|Peter Thiel||$2,700 million||Chairman of Palantir||$20 billion (private)||transition team|
|Alex Karp||$1,600 million||CEO of Palantir||$20 billion (private)||private sector|
|Sheryl Sandberg||$1,270 million||COO of Facebook||$354 billion||private sector|
|Tim Cook||$785 million||CEO of Apple Computer||$624 billion||private sector|
|Safra Catz||$525 million||CEO of Oracle Corp||$169 billion||private sector|
|Gary Cohn||$266 million||Former president of Goldman Sachs||$93 billion||Director N.E.C.|
|Jared Kushner||$200 million||Owner of Kushner Companies||unspecified||transition team|
|Ivanka Trump||$150 million||Co-heir of The Trump Organization||(see Donald Trump)||transition team|
|Donald Trump, Jr.||$150 million||Co-heir & EVP of The Trump Organization||(see Donald Trump)||transition team|
|Eric Trump||$150 million||Co-heir & EVP of The Trump Organization||(see Donald Trump)||transition team|
|Satya Nadella||$84 million||CEO of Microsoft||$494 billion||private sector|
|Brad Smith||$58 million||President of Microsoft||$494 billion||private sector|
|Ginni Rometty||$45 million||CEO of IBM||$163 billion||private sector|
|Chuck Robbins||$13 million||CEO of Cisco||$155 billion||private sector|
|Brian Krzanich||$12 million||CEO of Intel||$177 billion||private sector|
|Stephen Bannon||$10 million||Former chairman of Breitbart||unspecified||Strategist|
|Mike Pence||$unknown||Former Governor of Indiana||(n/a)||Vice-President|
|Reince Priebus||$unknown||Former RNC chairman||(n/a)||Chief of Staff|
|Stephen Miller||$unknown||Former comms. dir. for Jeff Sessions||(n/a)||Sr.Advisor|
Airbnb was also invited to attend the tech-CEO meeting, but their CEO was traveling internationally that week.
Of the above, Stephen Bannon resigned 8/18/17; Reince Prebus was fired 3/11/17.
In addition to the tech-industry group, there is also a more general business advisory group being formed. Billionaire Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone organized the business advisory group, which also includes:
It is unclear whether Trump or his transition team have personally met with this advisory group, but media reports indicate that some of the members were considered for cabinet-level positions in his administration (including Dimon as a potential treasury secretary, Cosgrove as potential secretary of veterans affairs, Warsh for a potential Federal Reserve role).
During his campaign, Trump had several dozen agricultural advisors.
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