Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed is defending president-elect Donald Trump's recent picks of people with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street for his Cabinet.
Trump promised to "drain the swamp" in the nation's capital, but two of his early cabinet picks are wealthy financial industry insiders with ties to the kinds of institutions he railed against as a candidate.
On Wednesday, Trump announced that he plans to nominate former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as his Treasury secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross to lead the Commerce Department.
Congressman Tom Reed, a vice chair of the Trump transition team, denies that the selections run counter to Trump's campaign narrative to upend the political system.
"What Donald Trump is bringing into the mix is outside, private based individuals who have been very successful in their own lives,” Reed said in a conference call with reporters Thursday morning. “What they're bringing to the table is that skill set; that non-D.C. establishment group of individuals is going to shake and disrupt Washington, D.C.'s establishment basis."
As a candidate, Trump said Wall Street had created "tremendous problems" for the country. He included the CEO of Goldman Sachs in a television advertisement that accused global financial powers of having "robbed our working class."
Reed said he has not spoken directly to Trump since his appointment to the president-elect’s transition team on Tuesday, but he has talked to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
"We are going to be able to have a direct line of communication with the White House, and that is something different than what we have historically had here under a President Obama Administration,” he said. “I’m thinking there is a huge opportunity for the people of Western New York, the 23rd Congressional district and the State of New York, and the entire country to make sure the peoples’ interests are put first."
Reed, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, says his priorities include the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, immigration reform, and an overhaul of the U.S. tax code.