When the curtain opened on 2016 Steven Terner Mnuchin was a rather anonymous super-wealthy guy waiting for a few movies he'd invested in to come out and mulling over what was next for the man himself. For a guy with a few hundred million, an actress fiancee almost 20 years his junior, and a mansion in Bel Air, Mnuchin was able to do almost anything he wanted as a next act. In short, he was looking at a future so potentially bright that he had to wear transition shades.
At the age of 53, Mnuchin had done a lot already. In fact, he'd done almost literally everything one would do to make themselves politically radioactive for a top-level economic appointment. Yet, as of this morning, Steven Terner Mnuchin is the Trump Administration's nominee to head the United States Department of The Treasury.
So it's only fair to ask; Is Steven Mnuchin a warlock?
See, there is only one real explanation how Steven Mnuchin went from Bel Air quietude to overseeing America's banks in less than a year: Magic.
Working at Goldman Sachs has become something of a pox on anyone hoping to pass through the revolving door towards top-level government service. Steve Mnuchin was essentially born there as his dad Robert was a firm partner/living legend. Steven then worked there for 17 years, becoming a partner himself and at one point running a mortgage-backed securities trading desk. Having this on one's resume makes the notion of becoming Treasury Secretary post-2008 nearly inconceivable. For Mnuchin, it's maybe the easiest thing to overcome.
After Goldman, Mnuchin went on a money walkabout. He spent some time riffing with his college buddy (and totally uncontroversial investor) Eddie Lampert, and then moved on to work with George Soros for a little while. Being a Goldman legacy and working with your Randian pal/activist hedge fund billionaire are the kinds of things that make the left hate you, while working for Soros is a one-step process to alienating conservatives.
After his little wander, Mnuchin seemingly decided that he was not ready to settle for one thing so he started a hedge fund and a movie production company. While Dune Capital was largely forgettable (hold this thought) his film company had some major hits with movies like the most profitable movie ever at the time, "Avatar."
So in addition to Goldman and Soros, Mnuchin was now also a hedge fund manager and "Hollywood type." Anyone looking at Steven Mnuchin in 2009 would have had you committed for suggesting that he would ever be nominated to run the Treasury Department. What he did next would have made them punch you in the face.
As we've talked about, Mnuchin partnered with his old boss Soros and John Paulson (JOHN FUCKING PAULSON) to purchase IndyMac out of bankruptcy. Thanks to the bailout and some questionable mortgage behavior, Mnuchin made the thing attractive enough to sell for almost double what he and his group paid, plus the money they got from the FDIC to prop it up in the meantime.
For some - especially politicians during a confirmation hearing - that could be construed as crisis profiteering. So, politically speaking, Mnuchin went from trading MBS at Goldamn in the early-2000s to making hundreds of millions on the crisis created in large part from the trading of MBS...and he also had a hedge fund and made movies.
At this point, any normal politician would look at Mnuchin's resume and appraise him to be the Toxic Avenger of economic appointees.
But Mnuchin wasn't even done.
And he wasn't done with showbiz either, so he got back into it as co-chairman of Relativity Media, a company founded by Ryan Kavanaugh, a man outed as a fraud very soon after Mnuchin departed Relativity with all his money. Timing is everything.
And then we arrive back at the dawn of 2016. Mnuchin is in SoCal, pondering his next move and watching Donald Trump's carnival campaign pick up steam. Despite having worked for Soros and donated a bunch of money to Hillary and Obama in the past, Mnuchin became Trump's campaign finance chair and a member of his economic team. Mnuchin even played the role of a check-seeking Job at SALT Las Vegas this year and became a real player on the campaign. But the idea that he would be Treasury Secretary seemed hard to fathom due to that political albatross of a resume. However Trump being Trump, it was not out of the question. After all, The Donald values respect and loyalty above all else, so Mnuchin still had a chance.
Well, there's one more thing. Remember Mnuchin's hedge fund? That fund (which was named after his beachfront home in The Hamptons, so have fun with that Liz Warren) invested in a few Trump properties back in the day. And we all know what happens when people invest in Trump; Lawsuits! That's right, the President-Elect just nominated a man HE ONCE SUED to run the Treasury Department.
Yet despite all of this - ALL of this - Steven Mnuchin is going to be sitting in front of Congress in the next few weeks trying to make an argument that his career is perhaps a feat of finance performance art made to show us all that the guy who acts like he's never wanted the job is the one who deserves it most. Or maybe it's just sorcery.
Because Steven Mnuchin is a warlock.
We CANNOT WAIT for these confirmation hearings.