With barely a month having passed since election results rolled out on November 9, President-elect Donald Trump has already betrayed the biggest demographic that helped him clinch the election: working-class voters.
The president-elect campaigned against Hillary Clinton, and even Ted Cruz earlier in the primary season, on the premise that both of them were establishment candidates who were in the pockets of the ultra-rich and the who’s who of Wall Street. Portraying himself as an insurgent candidate who would distance himself from Washington insiders and Wall Street bigwigs as soon as he was elected the next president of the United States, Donald Trump promised his voters that he would not shy away from taking some enormous decisions.
“I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over him,” Trump had said referring to Cruz, whose wife Heidi previously worked for a Wall Street giant.
“Just like they have total control of Hillary Clinton,” he had added.
But Donald Trump represented something different, he repeatedly told his voters. Heads would roll, career politicians would suffer, and the average American voter would be the biggest beneficiary of this tectonic shift in the political sphere of the United States, Trump had promised in many of his election rallies.
A month after he won the presidency, however, it appears Donald Trump had only said those words to help him win crucial working-class votes. His picks for the cabinet, coupled with his ever-growing camaraderie with several Washington and Wall Street honchos, are enough evidence that Trump’s promises were not only shallow, but mere foils through which he could manipulate the anger of working-class Americans.
As well as appointing Steven Mnuchin, a Goldman Sachs banker with deep-rooted Hollywood ties and no administration experience or ideological backbone, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson emerged on Friday as President-elect Donald Trump’s leading candidate for U.S. secretary of state, according to Reuters. This is a man who runs a company that has operations in more than 50 countries and boasts that it explores for oil and natural gas on six continents. He has great relations with Russia, having signed a deal with Rosneft, Russia’s largest state-owned oil company. In fact, in 2013, Vladimir Putin awarded Tillerson his nation’s Order of Friendship. Not only that, Tillerson has been a vocal supporter of burning of petro fuels regularly in the past, and has railed against evidence proving climate change.
Steven Gardner, director of the McBride Center for International Business at Baylor University, told Dallas Morning News that Tillerson’s experience as the head of Exxon wouldn’t count for much if he is appointed the next secretary of state.
“We need someone in that job without an incredibly large learning curve,” he said.
But this should not even surprise us, considering that Donald Trump has deepened his ties with Wall Street, and Goldman Sachs in particular, to an incredible degree since becoming the president-elect. It is like he has returned the favor of his supporters, who believed in him to rid the White House of Wall Street influence, by showing them the middle finger.
Apart from Mnuchin, the new senior White House adviser Steve Bannon was also a former Goldman Sachs employee. But perhaps what is most alarming in all of Trump’s picks is his selection of Goldman Sachs president and COO Gary Cohn as the new national economic council director in his administration.
As Independent reports, Gary Cohn is one of the men directly responsible for the 2008 global economic crisis, and had said “sorry” to Congress for his role in the meltdown back in 2010.
“Of course, we regret that we did not do many things better: like having less exposure to leveraged loans, which caused us approximately $5 billion in losses, having less exposure to mortgages, and, it should go without saying, we wish we had seen more proactively the effects of the housing bubble,” Cohn had told Congress.
This selection of veteran Goldman Sachs personnel as the top picks for Donald Trump’s cabinet not only proves that the president-elect never intended to “drain the swamp,” but that he merely used the rhetoric to take his blue collar voters for a ride. If you still don’t believe me, consider this statistic. As reported by New York Times, Goldman Sachs stocks are up by a remarkable 33 percent since Donald Trump’s election. Contrary to what Trump said about Clinton and Cruz, the president-elect himself appears to work only for the interests of the ultra-rich and ultra-powerful.
“It is called a rigged economy and this is how it works,” Bernie Sanders, who campaigned against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary on the resolution that his government will not side with Wall Street, said about Trump’s appointments.
It’s called a rigged economy and this is how it works. https://t.co/npoLcKQmfJ
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 9, 2016
.@realDonaldTrump has picked an anti-labor CEO as his secretary of Labor. What happened to his promise of siding with workers?
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 9, 2016
Perhaps the best summing up of Donald Trump’s complete U-turn on his promises was done by economist Paul Krugman, who said that Trump’s working-class voters will realize that they have been sucker-punched before long.
“The white working class is about to be betrayed. The evidence of that coming betrayal is obvious in the choice of an array of pro-corporate, anti-labor figures for key positions.
“If and when the reality that workers are losing ground starts to sink in, I worry that the Trumpists will do what authoritarian governments often do to change the subject away from poor performance: go find an enemy.”
Donald Trump has already betrayed his working-class voters, and while it would have been better if this realization had dawned on his voters before they went to vote, it would still serve the country if we began calling on the president-elect’s bluff before it is too late.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]