As the old saying goes, “F*** ’em if they can’t take a joke.”
Comity was the victim today as Donald Trump’s nominee to be secretary of the treasury, Steven Mnuchin, began his confirmation hearing. In his opening statement, Oregon commie, Ron Wyden, hinted that he might not vote for Mnuchin:
Sen. Ron Wyden wasted no time ripping into Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary, at Thursday’s confirmation hearing, hitting the Wall Street executive for his financial dealings and the foreclosure practices at the California bank he once owned.
“The Treasury secretary ought to be somebody who works on behalf of all Americans,” said Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.
“When I look at Mr. Mnuchin’s background, it is a real stretch to find hard evidence that he would be that kind of Treasury secretary,” he said.
Wyden criticized Mnuchin’s hedge fund, Dune Capital Management, for “setting up outposts in Anguilla and the Cayman Islands, an action that can be explained only by the islands’ zero percent tax rate.”
“In Mr. Mnuchin’s case, millions of dollars in profits from Hollywood exports like the movie ‘Avatar’ were funneled to an offshore web of entities and investors,” Wyden said.
Wyden raised questions about the decision by Pasadena’s OneWest Bank, which Mnuchin chaired, “to loan hundreds of millions of dollars” to the Relativity Media movie studio.
And Wyden accused OneWest of pursuing foreclosures so aggressively that it showed “it could put more vulnerable people on the street faster than just about anybody else around.”
“Under Mr. Mnuchin, OneWest churned out foreclosures like Chinese factories churned out Trump suits and ties,” Wyden said.
That’s when the fun happened:
“Sen. Wyden, I’ve got a Valium pill here that you might want to take for a second round,” he joked.
The crack did not go over well with Democrats. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) pounced on the remarks, calling it an inauspicious start to the committee’s work for the year. And Wyden accused Roberts of wasting precious time.
“I just can’t quite believe that the senator would say that,” said Brown. “I just hope that doesn’t set the tone for 2017.”
Members of both parties quickly began talking over each other, with Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) struggling to regain control.
Roberts said the comment amounted to a “little pinprick of humor,” and apologized “if I have, you know, uh, encouraged your wrath, sir.”
Wyden again complained that Roberts was taking up valuable committee time with his comments. And in turn, Roberts expressed his own wrath.
“Fine, Ron! I’m done!” he said angrily as he wrapped up his remarks.
The frustration of the fringe left of the Democrat’s Senate caucus over their ability to gain any traction in committee hearings and knowing they will be beaten like rented mules in the floor vote (thank you One-Eye Harry) is bringing just a little bit of joy each day.