Goldman Confronts Protesters Inside New York Headquartersby
Officers confiscate large banner with words ‘Government Sachs’
Participants say they plan to return to bank later this month
Protesters yelled chants and waved signs in the lobby of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s New York headquarters Wednesday in opposition to the firm’s growing influence in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.
About 40 protesters entered Goldman’s lobby and were ejected, in some cases physically, according to a statement from New York Communities for Change, a social- and economic-justice advocacy group. Roughly half that number of people can been seen participating in a video of the rally posted on Facebook.
The activists criticized Goldman’s role in the U.S. housing crisis and the long history of its former executives taking senior posts in government. The video shows protesters shouting, holding banners and blocking turnstiles in the lobby. An officer can be seen confiscating a black banner with the words “Government Sachs,” and later he pushes some protesters through an open door.
“We respect every individual’s rights to assembly and free speech in accordance with laws,” said Tiffany Galvin, a company spokeswoman. “In this case, the police escorted these individuals out of the building for trespassing.”
The group vowed to return on Jan. 17.
Shares of Goldman Sachs have surged 34 percent since Trump’s election in November.
The protest came on the same day that the president-elect said he would nominate Jay Clayton, an attorney with close ties to the investment bank, to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. Clayton, a Sullivan & Cromwell partner, has done work for Goldman Sachs. His wife, Gretchen, is a wealth manager at the bank, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
While Trump derided Wall Street and singled out the firm as a symbol of greed during his campaign, he’s tapped a number of its alumni to help lead the government. He picked Steven Mnuchin, a former partner at the bank, to be Treasury secretary and enlisted Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn for the top White House economic post. Stephen Bannon, another alumnus of the firm, was named chief strategist.