Update from Public Citizen
Here’s the strategy:
We will uncover the corruption in everything Donald Trump does.
We will call out Trump’s wholesale handover of our government to Big Business.
We will expose Trump for his complete and utter betrayal of populist promises
he made as a candidate.
We will organize people around the country to stand up to Trump’s hate
We will make sure our allies in the U.S. Senate block passage of an extremist
corporate agenda that would sacrifice hard-won health and safety protections,
basic norms of justice and equality, and our planet’s sustainability to
further enrich the corporate class.
And, whenever we can, we will sue to block Trump’s unconstitutional power
Read on for much more about how this will unfold.
We continue to pound Trump for his unprecedented conflicts of interest.
Trump canceled the news conference (Will he ever hold one again?) where
he was supposedly going to unveil his “solution” to the conflicts. But
we know from Trump’s tweets that he intends only to end his involvement
in day-to-day operations — while retaining a full ownership stake in his
In countless media interviews, we’ve been crystal clear about the acid
test for Trump’s conflicts of interest: Will he sell his business, yes
Now we know the answer is no.
It’s nice, I guess, that the president of the United States might not
be distracted by picking bathroom tiles for his hotels.
But the conflicts of interest from his global empire remain.
That means Trump will continue to have the conflicts from business operations
in more than 20 countries around the world. He will continue to have the
conflicts from owning a luxury hotel just a few blocks from the White
House that diplomats openly state they will patronize to curry his favor.
And he will continue to have the inescapable, all-encompassing conflicts
from business holdings that give him a direct financial interest in policy
matters from consumer protection to taxation, bankruptcy to labor rights.
We’re not letting go of this issue, and it’s not going away.
That’s because these conflicts really will pervade policymaking in the
administration. The more we can point it out, the more we can show that
Trump is making a mockery of his campaign promises to root out corruption,
cronyism and insider dealing.
Last week — in close consultation with Public Citizen — Senator Elizabeth
Warren announced that she will introduce legislation when Congress reconvenes
that would require Trump to sell his businesses.
We’re going to mobilize public support around that bill. We expect to
get all Democratic senators to co-sponsor, and we will challenge Republicans
— many of whom are also uncomfortable with Trump’s global entanglements
— to sign on as well.
Meanwhile, Congress will reconvene at the beginning of January and very
quickly plunge into hearings on Trump’s atrocious, Robber Baron-esque
cabinet picks and agency appointments.
We’ll launch an edgy, dynamic and deeply researched “Corporate Cabinet”
website revealing the business connections and profound revolving-door
problems surrounding Trump’s selections.
Trump — who ran against Goldman Sachs by name as a candidate — has selected
a Goldman Sachs veteran (and foreclosure king) as his Treasury Secretary,
Goldman Sachs’ president as his number two economic advisor and a Goldman
Sachs-alumni-turned-racist-business-mogul as his chief White House strategist.
To run the Labor Department, Trump has tapped a fast-food tycoon whose
companies have racked up a record of labor law violations and who opposes
raising the minimum wage, ensuring overtime pay for millions of workers
and providing sick leave.
Trump’s choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency has actually
sued that very agency to block implementation of arguably its most important
program ever, the Clean Power Plan, which would reduce dangerous greenhouse
The pick to run the Pentagon left the military and promptly landed on
the boards of directors of General Dynamics, one of the largest defense
contractors, and Theranos, the disgraced biotech firm beleaguered by allegations
that it lied about its purported breakthrough blood testing technology.
Last but certainly not least, Trump has named Rex Tillerson — CEO of
Exxon Mobil, the sixth largest corporation on Earth — who has no foreign
policy experience but deep ties to Russia, as his Secretary of State.
Through cutting-edge reports, social media, newspapers, radio and TV,
and much more, we’re going to highlight this rogues’ gallery’s history
of law-breaking, how their corporate ties will corrupt policymaking, and
how their reactionary views will harm everyday Americans.
We’re going to work with Senate allies to make sure tough questions are
asked at confirmation hearings.
We’re going to mobilize our hundreds of thousands of supporters, and work
in connection with allies, to demand senators vote down this corporate
We don’t have illusions about this work. Most of these people will be
confirmed, no matter their disqualifications. But in having the fight,
we will show thatwe won’t succumb to the corporate takeover of our government.
And we’re going to erode Trump’s base of support, as we show again and
again that he is drawing on a wellspring of connected cronies, in total
defiance of his campaign commitments.
On Friday, January 20, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president
of the United States.
On Saturday, January 21 — the anniversary of the disastrous Citizens United
Supreme Court ruling — Public Citizen will sponsor a massive teach-in
in Washington, D.C. We are coordinating with a major women’s march the
same day, and we are enlisting dozens of organizations to join as co-sponsors.
With parallel events around the country and streaming of keynote speeches
to homes and meetings across the nation, the teach-in will educate, galvanize
and mobilize countless Americans to prepare for the four years ahead.
Barn-blazing speakers at the teach-in will:
Identify the threat to women’s rights.
Explain the likely repression against immigrant and Muslim communities.
Expose the planned giveaways to Corporate America.
Above all, we’re going to launch a serious conversation about what it
means to have a democracy in America — for there is no functioning democracy
when people must sign a religious-based registry, when people fear to
exercise the right to assemble because of the prospect of deportation,
when millions of voters are blocked from the polls because of suppression
tactics, or when billionaires and Big Business can decide who gets elected
and what they do once in power.
The teach-in will facilitate people from around the country joining together
in their communities to plan additional organizing campaigns and protests.
And it will be part of a broader process of developing an all-out, full-fledged,
nationwide popular protest movement against the Trump regime.
FIRST 100 DAYS
We know that the Republican Congress and the new president, both, plan
to swing their wrecking balls immediately.
We’ll be ready.
One top priority of congressional Republicans will be to undo various
end-of-term Obama initiatives — exploiting a legislative ploy held over
from the Newt Gingrich era that forbids the filibuster. This could enable
them to override:
A safeguard that would help prevent mechanical failures like the one that
led to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
Nutrition labeling standards and promotion of healthy food in public schools.
New limits on air pollution from trucks on our nation’s roadways.
Sick leave for government contractors.
A prohibition on rip-off clauses that deny consumers the right to join
together in cases against Big Banks.
And much, much more.
Congressional Republicans and Trump want to claim they are just eliminating
We’re going to make it very clear in human terms what is at stake. We’ll
be ready with victims of corporate wrongdoing to explain the consequences
of rolling back these protections. And we’ll be ready to explain which
corporate interests are benefiting from each rollback.
Did Trump voters really put him in office to make it impossible for victims
of Wells Fargo’s fraudulent practices to sue the bank?
That’s the kind of question we’re going to make sure is asked in Congress
and in the media, over and over again.
With sufficient mobilization, we hope we can block some of the rollback
Either way, we’re certain we’re going to make it politically painful,
with lasting effect.
We also anticipate some important legislation to move in the first hundred
days, including a so-called budget reconciliation resolution, which is
expected to be the vehicle through which the Affordable Care Act is repealed,
in whole or in part.
Having voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act literally dozens of times,
congressional Republicans still don’t have a real plan for how they would
replace it. Almost certainly, millions of Americans will lose insurance
coverage that they now have.
We’re going to highlight the human cost of this cruel and ideologically
driven taking away of health care coverage.
We’re also going to elevate and escalate our demand for the only real
solution to the chronic health insurance problem in this country — an
expanded and improved Medicare-for-All single-payer system.
For all its positive aspects, we know that the Affordable Care Act was
flawed by the compromise at its inception: the decision to permit the
for-profit health insurance industry to maintain its control. We know
that single-payer is the only way to ensure coverage for all Americans
and to rein in soaring health care costs.
It’s obviously going to take years to win single-payer, but we are indeed
going to win.
Meanwhile, we anticipate a series of rapid-fire executive orders and executive
actions from Trump right after he takes office.
Our expectation is that some of these actions will be unlawful.
If that expectation is borne out, we expect to be in court within days
seeking rulings to block Trump’s plans.
After bracing through the whirlwind of the first hundred days, Washington
will settle into a more normal rhythm.
We’re going to see the Trump administration try to undo important rules
and programs adopted by the Obama administration, in areas from consumer
protection to labor rights to clean air.
Undoing older rules will require the Trump administration to go through
the formal rulemaking process. That will let us mobilize the public to
defend recent gains and to submit our own evidence about why existing
rules should stay in place.
In many cases, if the Trump government moves in the face of evidence of
the need for consumer and other regulatory protections, we will be able
to sue to stop them.
Which is exactly what we plan on doing.
On the legislative side, we expect Congress to move through the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce’s agenda, aiming to undo as much of Dodd-Frank as possible,
cutting taxes on the super-rich and corporations, limiting the rights
of victims of corporate wrongdoing, slashing the budgets of regulatory
agencies, making it more difficult to prosecute corporate crime, undermining
worker rights and more. They may even try to cut Social Security and privatize
We don’t plan on letting any of that happen.
With allies, we’re going to make sure that Senate Democrats filibuster
and block all of these disastrous proposals.
We’re going to mobilize people across the country to protest an agenda
designed to enrich the already mega-wealthy and immiserate everyone else.
We’re going to identify regular people who can articulate plainly and
powerfully how these Big Business plans will have very real and terrible
consequences for their families and communities.
We’re going to paint a picture with high-definition clarity of how Republican
support for these proposals is direct payback to major campaign donors.
And we’re going to ask again and again and again:
Did the populist Trump supporters really vote to empower Big Banks to
rip off consumers?
Did those voters really want corporate criminals given a get-out-of-jail
Did they want to see Medicare benefits cut and control of the program
handed over to private insurers?
There’s no question that we’ll have a defensive orientation over the next
several years. We’re going to have to fend off the most corporate and
extremist agenda in memory.
But we’re also going to push for an aggressive, progressive agenda: winning
single-payer health care; breaking up the Big Banks; expanding Medicare
and Social Security; putting corporate criminals in jail; raising the
minimum wage; curtailing Big Pharma monopolies; overturningCitizens United;
Those are the policies that America needs, that America wants.
Because in spite of the election results, Americans are in fact extraordinarily
united in support of very progressive policies. For example:
Three-quarters of Americans support a steep rise in the minimum wage.
Four out of five voters, including three-quarters of Republicans, want
to expand — not just maintain, but expand — Social Security.
Across the country, three-quarters of voters want to maintain or strengthen
83% of Americans, including three out of four Republicans, favor empowering
Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
And “with near unanimity,” reports The New York Times, “the public thinks
the country’s campaign finance system needs significant changes.”
The way to appeal to both the Trump populist voters and voters who stayed
home is with a populist economic and political agenda that speaks to the
real and felt needs of disempowered voters of all parties.
That’s a path forward that gives us a hopeful way out of our gloomy present
circumstances, that offers us the prospect not just of stopping the horrible
Trump agenda but reorienting our country to the far-reaching changes we
That’s our plan.
In scale and scope, it’s as ambitious as anything we’ve ever proposed.
It’s doable, if we all pitch in.
If you can, please donate
today. No ! Not to these people ?
President, Public Citizen