Banker-heavy Biden cabinet ‘leak’ triggers outrage, echoes of Obama’s ‘Citigroup cabinet’

Mike Bloomberg and the JP Morgan CEO who played a key role in 2008’s financial crash are in line for posts in Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden’s cabinet, according to a high-profile “leak” that has angered many.

The centrist candidate’s alleged cabinet picks were floated on Axios on Monday, citing “top sources” including Biden advisers. Aside from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who dropped out of the race last week but has yet to endorse another candidate, the roster included polarizing plutocrats like Bloomberg (tapped to lead the World Bank) and JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, whose role in the 2008 housing crisis few have forgotten, for the Treasury Department.

While Biden has notoriously said in the past that “nothing would fundamentally change” under his presidency, many were infuriated at the candidate’s naked subservience to Wall Street – and insulted that his advisers might try to paper over such truckling to the oligarchy with the appointment of a progressive favorite like Warren to some token position.

Several brought up Dimon’s role in the housing crisis. Appointing the “bankster” to run the Treasury, one user tweeted, “tells you everything you need to know about what kind of president he would be.

Others were more surprised that anyone else was surprised. Surely Biden had made his loyalties clear throughout his career, starting when – as a young senator – he admittedly tried to “prostitute himself” to wealthy interests.

Not everyone was climbing the walls with rage, however. Some suggested there was “no way” Biden would pick Dimon to run the Treasury Department, insisting the campaign was likely not even thinking of cabinet positions with eight months still to go before the general election. It was just “too absurd.

Besides, hadn’t Dimon just suffered a massive heart attack?

Meanwhile, at least one tweeter floated the intriguing possibility that the “leak” was intended to put pressure on Warren to endorse the former vice president.

Bank of America vice chair Anne Finucane, hired in the wake of the 2008 crash to rehabilitate the company’s moribund reputation, was also floated as a potential Treasury pick. There was even a prominent quid pro quo: Axios cited Biden advisers floating a “prominent slot” for former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg after the up-and-comer’s endorsement of the former vice president. As for Biden’s potential vice president, it would be “whoever Jim Clyburn [the South Carolina senator whose endorsement got black voters flocking to the polls for Biden on Super Tuesday] wants it to be,” one adviser reportedly said, with California Senator Kamala Harris, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick all in the running – all 2020 candidates who’d dropped out and endorsed Biden.

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The list was heavily padded with Obama administration veterans, including a suggestion that former Secretary of State John Kerry be brought back to reprise his role. The blasts from the past were fitting, given how closely the banker-heavy “leak” recalled the selection of the former president’s own cabinet. Key positions were filled largely from a list supplied a month before the general election by a Citigroup executive who would become Obama’s trade representative, while other Citi bankers helped craft the administration’s economic policies.

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