Earlier than the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Mnuchin had not accrued a lot good will exterior the Trump administration. He comes throughout as stiff and aloof. He hardly ever smiles or indulges in small speak, not less than in public. (To interrupt the ice, he often impersonates Inspector Clouseau from the “Pink Panther” movies.)
Democrats and unbiased watchdogs have pilloried Mr. Mnuchin for showing to assist his outdated banking buddies. He was accused of conflicts of curiosity for urging to get China to let extra Hollywood movies, like these he produced, into the nation. Final 12 months he flew from Washington to Los Angeles on the personal plane of Michael R. Milken, the billionaire junk-bond pioneer convicted of conspiracy and fraud. Mr. Mnuchin on the time was pushing for him to obtain a presidential pardon.
Mr. Mnuchin is a self-proclaimed micromanager. Profession members of the tax coverage employees hardly ever met with Treasury secretaries in earlier administrations; they’re recurrently known as to transient Mr. Mnuchin. On March 2, as monetary markets had been in upheaval, Mr. Mnuchin held a one-hour assembly in regards to the “grain glitch,” a technical wrinkle within the 2017 tax legislation.
Till the second week of March, Mr. Mnuchin, like most individuals within the Trump administration, regarded the coronavirus as a minor menace to the U.S. economic system.
Mr. Mnuchin opposed aggressive efforts to curb the virus, arguing in White Home conferences that it was no worse than the seasonal flu and worrying that halting flights from China would provoke the Chinese government. (Monica Crowley, a Treasury spokeswoman, mentioned Mr. Mnuchin didn’t oppose proscribing flights.)
Mr. Trump imposed the flight ban. Mr. Mnuchin accepted Mr. Trump’s resolution and moved on, which colleagues say is typical: He affords opinions when requested, even when he is aware of Mr. Trump will disagree, after which executes regardless of the president decides. He seems to have little stake specifically outcomes. Does he agree or disagree with Mr. Trump’s stance on a given situation? In Mr. Mnuchin’s view, that’s irrelevant. He’s there to observe orders.
‘Large Hassle Coming’
In early March, buyers had been panicking on the prospect of a protracted nationwide emergency. Airline journey collapsed. Unemployment claims leapt. By the tip of the month’s first week, inventory markets had been down almost 20 % from their excessive.