As reported by Politico,

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) in a statement late Tuesday: “Steve Mnuchin is the Forrest Gump of the financial crisis — he managed to participate in all the worst practices on Wall Street. He spent two decades at Goldman Sachs helping the bank peddle the same kind of mortgage products that blew up the economy and sucked down billions in taxpayer bailout money before he moved on to run a bank that was infamous for aggressively foreclosing on families.

“His selection as Treasury Secretary should send shivers down the spine of every American who got hit hard by the financial crisis, and is the latest sign that Donald Trump has no intention of draining the swamp and every intention of running Washington to benefit himself and his rich buddies.”

Business Insider added some further context,

Warren's comparison of Mnuchin is to the 1994 Oscar-winning film Forrest Gump, in which Tom Hanks stumbles in and out of historical moments from the 1960s onwards as the eponymous Forrest.

... But I'm still not entirely sure what the comparison is meant to convey. Perhaps it's been too long since I saw the movie, I remember Forrest as an easygoing harmless sort of person, certainly not someone who would "send shivers down the spine". Did Forrest Gump cause something bad that I'm forgetting? What exactly is she trying to say about Mnuchin?

  • 2
    I think it should be noted that the comparison stops at the end of the sentence. The whole quote is not elaborating on the comparison.
    – Era
    Nov 30, 2016 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


The relationship is, as explained in the quote, that Mnuchin appears to have been in the middle of the business whose mismanagement caused/helped the financial crisis, the same way that Forrest Gump appeared in a lot of the major events of the USA during his life.

The difference is that, in the movie, Forrest Gump was never in a position of power to influence the events1; he was either a spectator or a victim. Mnuchin, on the other hand, was an executive at the firms involved, which involves a degree of responsibility (how much would be debatable). Certainly, it does not seem that he had any trouble with what was being done there (subprime mortgages and all that), either because he did not care (which would have been bad) or did not realize the risks (which would have been bad, too).

Of course, it is an opinion, so it is up to you to decide if it is appropriate or not.

1As a matter of fact, Forrest influenced a few of them, like jogging or the invention of the smiley, but he is not aware of that at all.

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    I think that juxtaposition is what she's getting at by saying that. It's kind of "really, he had nothing to do with all these disasters but just happened to be there for all of them? Who is he, Forrest Gump?" The comparison is actually a sarcastic one. Nov 30, 2016 at 18:29
  • Ok, after re-reading I think I get it: "the Forrest Gump of the financial crisis" meaning "was in the midst of all the financial crises". Guess my reading comprehension skills were off today, thanks for spelling it out for me :)
    – user812786
    Nov 30, 2016 at 20:10

Forrest Gump was an "innocent" who just "happened" to get into a number of situations that were out of his control.

Steven Mnuchin was a high level Goldman executive who got into a number of situations that were at least partly within his control.

To paraphrase Senator Lloyd Bentsen, "He's no Forrest Gump."

Warren's statement was a mockery, and that's why her conclusion was “His selection as Treasury Secretary should send shivers down the spine of every American... [and Donald Trump has]... every intention of running Washington to benefit himself and his rich buddies.”

"And Brutus is an honorable man."

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