The interaction occurred during an episode of CNBC’s Squawk Box, when the network’s chief Washington correspondent Eamon Javers asked Mr Mnuchin if he believed the lies Mr Trump has constantly repeated about the 2020 election.
Mr Mnuchin dodged the question, instead saying that he was “very involved” in the campaign in 2016, but had little involvement in the 2020 campaign.
“Well, let me just say, I was very, very involved in the campaign in 2016 and I traveled with the president across the country and was integrally involved in everything,” Mr Mnunchin said.
That response did not answer the question as to whether or not he believed in the former president’s election lies.
“In 2020, I wasn’t able to participate in the campaign,” Mr Mnunchin said. “So I’m really just watching this from the outside.”
Mr Mnuchin’s lack of involvement in the 2020 campaign would not preclude his ability to make a judgement on the integrity of the 2020 election.
Mr Javers attempted to push Mr Mnuchin to answer the question, but the former treasury secretary again sidestepped.
“What I’m saying is I’m focused on our investments, our business going forward,” Mr Mnuchin said. “I think the president’s policies were extraordinary on Covid, whether it’s the vaccine or other issues. All the work we did under Covid, the bipartisan support we had, to get the economy recovered.”
The interview continued, though eventually another host, Andrew Ross Sorkin, brought the issue back up and pushed Mr Mnuchin on why he would not answer Mr Javers’ question.
“I don’t understand why, given your stature, you’re not willing to engage on the conversation around what the president has said about this election,” Mr Sorkin said. “I gather you’re trying to dodge the question, but I really think that for the sake of the country, for the sake of democracy, and for the sake of economy and business, you should.”
Mr Mnuchin refused for a third time to offer a substantive response to the question.
“We have a great democracy. It’s working. It worked. We had a transition of power. I hope the president considers running again down the road,” he said. “I think this is an extraordinary democracy, and, as you said, we have an extraordinary economy.”
Mr Mnuchin faced criticism on social media, with one prominent anti-Trump conservative commentator, Joe Walsh, calling him “cowardly” for dodging the question.
“Mnuchin is asked twice: “Was the election stolen?” He refuses to answer both times. Refuses to answer. Just cowardly. So damn cowardly,” wrote Mr Walsh, a former Republican congressman who has come out against Mr Trump.