Timothy Geithner had some critical words for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in a new memoir reflecting upon his time as treasury secretary before and after the 2008 financial crisis.
The book, entitled "Stress Test," recounts Geithner's thoughts and interactions with members of the Obama administration as it sought to repair the nation's financial system and subsequently implement the Wall Street reforms commonly referred to as Dodd-Frank.
Warren, at the time a consumer advocate and law professor who ran Congress' TARP oversight panel, was briefly considered the top choice to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Due to concerns that a polarizing, progressive choice would not be able to muster enough Democratic support in the Senate, she was instead given the job of creating the agency under the auspices of Geithner. In her own book, she said she nearly turned the post down because she was worried, in part, about interference from the treasury secretary.
“They didn’t want to vote for a controversial liberal at a conservative moment,” Geithner wrote about Warren. “They were also worried about the intense opposition in the business community.”
Geithner, who writes that he has a “complicated relationship” with Warren, also said he thought her populism detracted from the issues at hand.
“Her [bailout] oversight hearings often felt more like made-for-YouTube inquisitions than serious inquiries,” Geithner wrote about Warren, according to The Hill. “She was worried about the right things but she was better at impugning our choices — as well as our intentions and our competence — than identifying any feasible alternatives.”
He may have been referring to a 2010 hearing in which he testified before Congress about the financial bailouts.
Warren also wrote about Geithner in a memoir released in April, recalling a day he took her out to lunch:
“Like a bossy third-grade teacher, I looked at him and said, ‘Put on your seat belt, Mr. Secretary,’ ” Warren writes. “Like a naughty kid, he looked back and said, ‘I don’t have to.’ ”
They continued arguing the point, and Warren thinks she raised her voice.
“He didn’t put on his seat belt all the way to the restaurant,” she writes. On the way back, after debating the role of government in the financial markets, he did put on his seat belt.
She also wrote that she was deeply disappointed in Geithner and the president for, choosing Wall Street over regular Americans in administering TARP for the benefit of big banks.