Speed Reads

Rest in peace

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who clashed with Bush over tax cuts, dies at 84

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill died Saturday at his home in Pittsburgh. He was 84. O'Neill had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer, and his family confirmed his death was not related to the novel COVID-19 coronavirus.

O'Neill served as treasury secretary for 23 months throughout 2001 and 2002 under former President George W. Bush, but he was eventually fired after the two clashed over Bush's preference for tax cuts. In a 2010 memoir, Bush wrote the two simply "never clicked" but they never openly disagreed over tax policy. O'Neill confirmed the former, but maintained he took issue with tax reductions. Bloomberg reports that he also disagreed with the president's decision to invade Iraq.

Before taking the role in the Bush administration, he was the CEO of Aluminum Co. of America, or Alcoa, where he oversaw a big increase in profits and safety standards, which were a priority for him. Per The Wall Street Journal, he gave up his office and worked alongside his employees in a standard cubicle.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) once said more of O'Neill's "unreserved honesty is needed inside the Beltway." Read more about O'Neill at Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.