Democracy Dies in Darkness

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Trump's economic team has six men named Steve but no women

By Jim Tankersley, Jose A. DelReal

August 5, 2016 at 10:49 AM

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on Aug. 1 in Mechanicsburg, Pa. (Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced an economic advisory team on Friday that is heavy on investing and corporate experience but includes no women — and six men named Steve.

The 13-member group features several longtime Trump business associates but only one academic economist, Peter Navarro of the University of California at Irvine. He specializes in trade with China, which Trump has made the centerpiece economic policy of his campaign.

The team's best-known names, in conservative policy circles, are Steve Moore, the founder of the Club for Growth advocacy group and a former economic columnist for the Wall Street Journal; David Malpass, who served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations; and Harold Hamm, a self-made oil billionaire who was a top energy adviser to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.

Inside the campaign, the team is led by policy director Stephen Miller, a former aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, and deputy director Dan Kowolski.

Other advisers include Dan DiMicco, a former CEO of steelmaker Nucor; Steven Mnuchin, Trump's national finance director, who is chairman and CEO of the investing firm Dune Capital Management; Steve Roth, founder and CEO of Vornado Realty Trust; hedge fund billionaire John Paulson; Howard Lorber, CEO of the Vector Group in Florida; real estate investor Tom Barrack; bankers Stephen M. Calk and Andy Beal; and financier Steve Feinberg.

In a release announcing the group, Trump said it was "comprised of some of the top economists in the country as well as the most successful industry leaders in finance, real estate and technology."

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13 names, 6 Steves, 0 women. (Daron Taylor/The Washington Post)

His adviser list underscores a deep rift between Trump and the traditional Republican policy establishment. Other than Hamm, it includes none of the economists who formed the core of the policy teams for the last three GOP nominees, Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush.

Trump, who has faced intense scrutiny over his qualifications for the presidency, does not regularly talk about policy specifics on the campaign trail. But supporters regularly cite what they see as his success in business as proof that he can shake up that status quo in Washington.

Related: [Why the world’s third-richest man is attacking Donald Trump]

Trump and his campaign, seeking to neutralize criticism for not offering a detailed policy agenda, will deliver a series of policy speeches in the coming weeks outlining his plans as president, starting with an economic address on Monday in Detroit. The speeches, according to aides, will target average voters rather than policy experts or think tank types. He delivered a similar series of addresses earlier this summer on foreign policy and economic growth.

Hillary Clinton's campaignhas regularly called Trump's grasp of policy issues into question, homing in on foreign policy in particular and calling his views on international relations "dangerous."

Related: [In endorsing Clinton, ex-CIA chief says Putin made Trump his ‘unwitting agent’]

Trump's gap on the qualification question has widened in recent weeks. A Fox News poll released this week showed that just 43 percent of voters believe Trump is qualified to be president, compared with 65 percent believe Clinton is qualified. Forty percent of voters believe Clinton is "very qualified."

Clinton's economic advisers include several longtime Democratic policy hands, such as former Bill Clinton and Barack Obama adviser Gene Sperling, and several women, including Ann O'Leary, Maya Harris, Neera Tanden, Heather Boushey and Laura D'Andrea Tyson.

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Jim Tankersley covers economic policy for The Post. He's from Oregon, and he misses it.

Jose DelReal is a national correspondent covering America's rural-urban divide, the USDA, and HUD. During the 2016 presidential election, he traveled to over 40 states while chronicling Donald Trump's astonishing political rise. Jose grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and graduated from Harvard College. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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