WASHINGTON, March 22 – At a rally Wednesday outside the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called for the defeat of the Wall Street lawyer whom President Donald Trump wants to regulate Wall Street.
“We need somebody who is prepared to confront the system, not someone who is part of the system,” Sanders said of former Goldman Sachs counsel Jay Clayton, Trump’s pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Mr. Clayton is clearly not that person. His nomination must be defeated.”
Trump pledged during his campaign that he would represent working families. He said he would “drain the swamp” in Washington and not let Wall Street “get away with murder.” He asserted that, “We can’t fix a rigged system by relying on the people who rigged it in the first place.”
Once he moved into the White House, however, Trump packed his administration with more billionaires than any president in American history and surrounded himself with former executives of Goldman Sachs. His chief economic advisor is Gary Cohn, who was the president of Goldman Sachs. His Treasury secretary is Steve Mnuchin, who worked for Goldman Sachs for 17 years and was dubbed the “foreclosure king” for kicking 36,000 people out of their homes during the financial crisis.
“Now, he wants Goldman Sachs' go-to lawyer, Jay Clayton, to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission,” Sanders said of the attorney, whom he called “the embodiment of the greed that nearly destroyed the economy” by causing the Great Recession.
“Mr. Clayton has spent his career providing get-out-of-jail free cards to Wall Street executives and helping financial institutions avoid government regulation and fines," Sanders added.
Clayton helped Goldman Sachs get a $10 billion taxpayer bailout from the Treasury Department during the financial crisis. He represented Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a company that increased the price of its lead poisoning drug from $950 to $27,000 over a two-year period.
“We need an SEC Chair who is willing to stand up to Wall Street and to end its greed and illegal behavior,” Sanders said.