Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, has not kept her feelings about President-Elect Donald Trump a secret. In fact, on November 15th she penned a letter to Trump and posted it for us all to see. Why is she so mad now?
During the campaign, Trump made promises to rid Washington of the lobbyists and special interest groups that have influenced and, in some cases, controlled the political system. However, in the days following the election, Trump has selected many insiders and lobbyists to head up his transition team. The list of insiders heading up the transition team is long but here are a few notable mentions.
•Jeffrey Eisenach who has been appointed to head the team staffing the Federal Communications Commission is also a lobbyist who has worked for many years on behalf of telecommunication clients including Verizon.
•Michael Torrey, the lobbyist who has made millions for the American Beverage Association and industry giant Dean Foods, was appointed to set up the new Department of Agriculture team.
•Steve Hart is heading up the Labor Department transition while he is also a top Washington lobbyist with clients such as G.E., Coca Cola and Visa.
The role of a transition team is to help the President-Elect select the new cabinet and the 4,000 plus staffers that will comprise the top roles in every government agency. There is no way that one person could appoint every position on their own in just a few short months. The leaders of the transition team become increasingly important as they make decisions that could impact the incoming President and their administration.
In this letter from Elizabeth Warren, she warns Trump that he must remove these special interest appointees or she will oppose him at every turn. In her words, “I will track your every move, and I will remind Americans, every day, of the actions you take that fail them”. Warren supported Trumps claims that he would remove lobbyists and special interest groups who seemed to have politicians in their pockets which turned law making from being about the people to being about the money. Just this past October, Trump declared that it was “time to drain the swamp in Washington” and promised that he would institute and enforce a 5 year ban on all executive branch government officials from being able to lobby after they left office. He also vowed to expand the definition of lobbyist to include paid consultants who act like lobbyists but just don’t have the title. Warren wasted no time in calling Trump out on this seeming hypocrisy. During a recent interview Trump was asked about the lobbyists that had been appointed to his transition team to which he responded, “everybody’s a lobbyist.” This response provoked many negative reactions to his apparent flippant tone and the appearance that he, once again said one thing and did another.
There has yet to be a direct response from the Trump team as to whether or not he will rectify these issues. Despite the fact that Chris Christie (who was initially in charge of the transition team and had already made some selections) was pushed aside after Trump expressed outrage over his handling of the Bridgegate scandal, the team, now headed by Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, has not seen many changes to the leadership team.
Despite the turmoil and confusion that has plagued Trump on his journey to the White House, one thing remains crystal clear. Elizabeth Warren is hanging on his every move and will be there to call out every injustice the new administration attempts to perpetrate against the American people.