Democratic presidential hopeful Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a Primary Night event at the SNHU Field House in Manchester, New Hampshire on February 11, 2020. (Photo by AFP)
Former Goldman Sachs head Lloyd Blankfein and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both said that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would destroy the US economy if he wins.
Blankfein, who was the chairman of Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs (GS.N) during the financial crisis, tweeted the criticism about Sanders as the US senator from Vermont led the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night.
"Sanders is just as polarizing as Trump AND heíll ruin our economy and doesnít care about our military," Blankfein wrote. He also alleged that Russia would be supporting Sanders.
Goldman, which Blankfein, a registered Democrat, led for 12 years, played a key role here in the subprime mortgage market collapse that caused the Great Recession.
Asked Wednesday if he agreed with Blankfeinís comment that a President Sanders would "ruin" the economy, Mnuchin, in comments to journalists after testifying in Congress, said, "I think Lloyd Blankfein couldnít be more right on that."
Mnuchin, a Republican, is a former Goldman Sachs banker who led the bankís mortgage bond trading. He left the bank in 2002. Before becoming Treasury secretary, Mnuchin was the head of OneWest Bank, which foreclosed here on more than 36,000 homeowners after the financial crisis.
Sandersí supporters were quick to point out Blankfeinís connection to the financial crisis. "This is what panic from the Wall Street elite looks and sounds like," Faiz Shakir, Sandersí campaign manager, responded on Twitter.
"Let me see, a billionaire executive on Wall Street doesnít like me," Sanders said on CNN Wednesday, when asked about Blankfeinís comments. "Hmm, I am shocked by that."
Sanders and rival Democratic contender Senator Elizabeth Warren have made fixing the countryís wealth inequality a focus of their presidential campaigns.
Blankfein, who supported presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, has criticized the "wealth tax" proposal floated by Sanders and Warren. The policy would be "completely unworkable," he said in November, because it would require annual assessments of the value of an individualís estate.
Asked Wednesday about Blankfeinís latest remarks, current Goldman Sachs Chairman David Solomon said, "That was Lloyd being Lloyd."
With the presidential race just beginning, "To say that this one or that one is having an impact on the economy, itís a little bit early," Solomon said.