Politico: ‘That is f—ing frightening’: Treasury’s top brass is white, male and wealthy

Politico, June 11, 2019: ‘That is f—ing frightening’: Treasury’s top brass is white, male and wealthy

When Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin postponed installing abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, critics viewed it as further evidence of the administration’s lack of sensitivity to race, gender and history. Under the surface of that public backlash was another one brewing inside the Treasury Department: deepening tensions from the last two years over the diversity of the top staff.

Out of roughly 20 officials who routinely attend senior staff meetings led by Mnuchin, only three are women and one is a person of color. In fiscal year 2018, the hiring of minorities at Treasury fell to its lowest pace in five years, according to the department’s own statistics, while the number of women and minorities leaving the agency outpaced their hiring.

Treasury has fewer policy disagreements these days, said one former official, because the top decision-makers are overwhelmingly white, male and wealthy. That can make the debates less robust and also gives the department the feeling of “being disconnected from reality,” said one administration official.

“When you do not have diversity at an agency in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and financial perspective and those are the people driving our policy, that is f—ing frightening,” said another former administration official.

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