Elizabeth Warren

Discussing President-elect Donald Trump - Nov. 17, 2016

Elizabeth Warren
November 17, 2016— Washington, D.C.
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Mr. President. Last week Hillary Clinton got about a million more votes than Donald Trump and yet here we are. Donald Trump won the presidency, and across the nation everyone is wondering what happens next. It is barely a week but we have already seen disgusting ideas emerge from Trump Tower. Put a white supremacist in the White House, flow to plan to register all Muslim Americans, draw up plans to round up millions of human being and rip families apart across this nation.

It is sickening and we will fight back. But hey, at least he promised to shake up our corrupt political system, right? I mean after all, when President-elect Trump announced his campaign he called out the politicians who were quote, “controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors, and by the special interests.” When he accepted his party’s nomination at the Republican Nation Convention he said, “When innocent people suffer because of our political system has sold out to some corporate lobbyists for cash, I am not able to look the other way.”

He promised that he would quote, “not be controlled by the donors, special interest, and lobbyists who have corrupted our politics and politicians for far too long,” and that he would quote, “drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.” Those are his words repeated loud and repeated long during the campaign. President-elect Trump has now named most of his transition team. So, how is he doing on his rock solid, double-down promise to get rid of the special interests and lobbyists? Big surprise. Trump is not draining the swamp. Nope, he’s inviting the biggest, ugliest swamp monsters in the front door and he’s turning them loose on our government and on our economy.

In just one week, the President-elect has elevated a slew of Wall Street bankers, industry insiders, and special interest lobbyists to run the show in his transition team. Let’s run through just a few examples here. The guy in charge of staffing the federal communications commission was on Verizon’s payroll, and has produced studies aimed at kneecapping the net neutrality rules. The guy in charge of picking the team that will decide energy policy in a Trump administration is a lobbyist for the oil and gas industry. The guy picked to staff up the Department of Agriculture is a quote, “veteran food and agriculture lobbyist whose firm has raked in millions representing the food industry.” The guy leading the transition for Environmental Protection Agency has been paid by the oil industry and denies that climate change is real. The guy heading up the transition team for the Social Security Administration is, you guessed it, a former lobbyist who spent much of his career working to cut and privatize the Social Security system. The guy—and by the way you may have noticed a pattern here almost all guys-- working on transportation and infrastructure is a founding partner at a law firm that lobbies for the National Asphalt Paving Association. The guy in charge of economic issues for Trump transition team served for six years as Chief Economist at Bear Sterns, the Wall Street firm that helped crash out economy in 2008, and he now runs the consulting firm for Wall Street clients.

Trump’s very first decision is to hand over the keys of government to the worst kind of D.C. insiders and special interest. It seems like all those promises to stand up for working people were just a giant khan. As the outrage has spread now, we’ve heard reports that Vice President-elect, Mike Pence, has decided to remove all the lobbyists from the transition team. Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it. If we learned anything from this campaign it’s that Team Trump will make up things if it seems convenient.

Last night, we already heard another version of this story. Seems that lobbyists can come on board, but only if they drop their formal lobbyist registration when they join the team. You know swamp monsters today, swamp monsters wearing clean shirts and ties for the transition team tomorrow, and swamp monsters once the transition is over. Put a clean shirt on a swamp monster doesn’t change anything. They have already had ample opportunity to stuff transition plans with ideas that will be good for their well-connected clients, and they will be disastrous for everyone else.

Besides, even if the lobbyists finish up early and leave, the Trump transition team is still full of industry insiders seeking special deals for themselves and for their companies. This isn’t subtle and you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s how Politica put it this morning quote, “a populist candidate who railed against shady financial interest on the campaign trail is now putting together an administration that looks like an investment bankers dream.” In the same article one historian said quote, “you’d have to go back to the 1920s to see so much Wall Street influence coming to Washington.”

So what happened? How come the guy who spent the election tweeting, “I’m not controlled by lobbyists or special interests” is stuffing his transition team full of lobbyists and special interests? When you ask the President-elect about his flip-flop he says he needs lobbyists on his team, but it’s because quote, “they know the system,” he said, “Well everybody’s a lobbyist in D.C.” That is literally the exact opposite of what he said during the campaign, and it is also not true.

Many Americans, both inside and outside Washington, have plenty of expertise to serve the American public without being bought or paid for by special interests. You know, Americans are angry about a federal government that works for the rich and powerful and it leaves everyone else in the dirt. Donald Trump knows that. He talked a good game during the campaign, and he promised to end corruption. He promised to drain the swamp, and after one week we’ve seen what Donald Trump’s promise means: nothing.

His words, his promise to the American people is worth nothing. Well Mr. President-elect, let me be clear. I am ready to fight on behalf of the millions of Americans you have lied to. That includes the millions who voted for you and the millions who didn’t.

Thank you, Mr. President.