WASHINGTON, D.C. Feb. 20, 2017 – A day-by-day review of the Trump administration’s first month shows that virtually every day has been marked by a new, extraordinary grant of power to corporate interests and/or another development in Donald Trump’s get-rich-quick-scheme known as the American presidency, a Public Citizen report shows.
Trump started his first full weekday in office with a breakfast meeting with CEOs of a dozen corporations including Arconic, Corning, Dell, Dow Chemical Company, Ford Motor Company, International Paper, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, UnderArmour and U.S. Steel.
Later in his first month, he met with auto company executives (environmental regulations are “out of control,” Trump said); Big Pharma CEOs (75 to 80 percent of U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations should be cut, Trump said); his Wall Street-dominated Strategic and Policy Forum, made up of a dozen-and-a-half corporate executives; and airline CEOs (where Trump supports privatizing air traffic control).
“One month into the Trump administration, and it’s clear that there has been a wholesale corporate takeover of the government,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “America has never seen anything like this, and it’s only the first month.”
The Trump administration also has taken care of its dirty energy friends. By executive order, Trump overturned President Barack Obama’s measures to block the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines.
The administration is taking care of its Wall Street friends too, the report shows. Trump has signed executive orders aimed at unraveling the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law – thereby destabilizing the financial system and making it more prone to another 2008-style meltdown – and repealing an Obama administration Labor Department rule requiring financial advisers to give advice based on their customers’ best interests. The Labor Department rule would save consumers $17 billion a year in rip-off fees and bad advice.
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And the administration has commenced a full-fledged assault on health, safety, environmental, worker, consumer, financial security, civil rights and other regulatory protections. Trump issued a reckless executive order that aims to block the issuance of any such safeguards by directing federal agencies to repeal two federal regulations for every new rule they issue. Public Citizen, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Communications Workers of America, has sued Trump and the administration to have this executive order overturned.
“It makes poetic sense that Trump has gleefully signed the repeal of an anti-corruption measure,” Weissman said. “Accompanying Trump’s gift-giving spree to corporate America has been an astounding series of actions making clear that his pervasive and consequential conflicts of interest will immerse the administration in a permanent miasma of corruption: the new $200,000 fee to join Mar-a-Lago, the Kellyanne Conway advertisement for Ivanka Trump products, the apparent plans to dramatically expand Trump hotels in the United States, and on and on.”