Reports claim Trump is already considering picks to head Treasury Department in possible second administration

 March 16, 2024

Reports indicate that former President Donald Trump, having now secured sufficient primary delegates for the Republican nomination and with polls showing him leading a likely rematch against President Joe Biden, has already begun thinking about who might fill key roles in a prospective second administration.

One such position is the Treasury secretary, and Trump is reportedly eyeing for that particular job a billionaire hedge fund manager named Jeff Yass, among a handful of other potential candidates, according to the New York Post.

That possible choice has raised some eyebrows in light of the current debate in Washington D.C. over banning the social media app TikTok or forcing its China-based parent company, ByteDance, in which Yass and his company hold substantial investments, to sell the app to U.S.-based buyers.

Trump reportedly considering Treasury secretary picks

It was Bloomberg News that first reported this week that Susquehanna International Group LLP founder Yass was one of four named individuals being considered by former President Trump to be his next Treasury secretary, should he defeat President Biden in November, according to anonymous sources.

Other candidates said to be under consideration for that key Cabinet position included former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Key Square Group LP founder Scott Bessent, and billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson.

The Bloomberg article focused mostly on Paulson, who is estimated to be worth around $4.4 billion and hosted a "mega-donor" fundraiser event in support of Trump at his Palm Beach, Florida, home in February and is scheduled to host a similar event in early April, and who Trump has mentioned by name for the Treasury position.

During his speech after winning the New Hampshire primary, Trump said, "And John Paulson, the great John Paulson made plenty of money in Nevada. Doesn’t live there, but he makes a hell of a lot of money. He makes money everywhere he goes, actually. So, money machine. Maybe we’ll put, you know what, put him at Treasury. You want to make a little money?"

Bloomberg cautioned, however, that the purported Treasury secretary discussions were "informal" and "preliminary" and subject to change, and Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung denied the reporting as he said, "There have been no discussions of who will serve in a second Trump administration."

Yass and his company hold substantial stake in ByteDance

Yet, while the Bloomberg report was focused on Paulson as former President Trump's possible pick to be Treasury secretary, the Post focused instead on Yass and his connection to TikTok's parent company ByteDance.

Per NBC News, Yass' Philadelphia-based Susquehanna International Group owns a 15% stake in Beijing-based ByteDance -- first acquired in 2012, long before TikTok was a thing -- while Yass personally holds 7% of ByteDance shares, worth an estimated $21 billion.

Those lucrative investments likely explain why Yass, a top Republican donor, has increasingly been vocally opposed to and lobbying against the current bipartisan legislation under consideration in Congress that would force ByteDance to sell TikTok entirely to U.S.-based investors or be banned -- a move that threatens a significant decline in the valuation of both TikTok and ByteDance.

It may also help explain why Trump, who attempted to ban TikTok by executive order in 2020, has done an apparent about-face on the app and is also now speaking out against the legislation that would ban the social media platform in the U.S. if it isn't sold to American investors within a specified period.

Campaign pushes back on reports of Cabinet staffing discussions

Of course, as with the Bloomberg report about Paulson, the Post report about Yass was also denied by former President Trump's campaign, with one unnamed campaign official telling the outlet, "President Trump is focused on the election, not staffing the Administration."

Campaign spokesman Chueng further reiterated, "There have been no discussions about who will serve in a second Trump Administration," and added, "President Trump will ultimately choose the best people for his Cabinet to undo all the damage Crooked Joe Biden has done to our country."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.