Still sulking after losing the race for the Democrat nomination, former presidential candidate and perpetual grouch Sen. Bernie Sanders today cast President Donald Trump’s moves this week to undo financial regulations enacted following the 2008 financial crisis as a betrayal of his campaign promises to stand up against Wall Street.
“This guy is a fraud,” Sanders, I-Vt., said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This guy ran for president of the United States saying, ‘I, Donald Trump, I’m going to take on Wall Street. These guys are getting away with murder.’ Then suddenly he appoints all these billionaires, his major financial adviser comes from Goldman Sachs, and now he’s going to dismantle legislation that protects consumers.”
Trump on Friday signed an executive order ordering a review of U.S. financial regulatory laws and regulations, and he openly acknowledged a coming assault on the 2010 package of regulatory reforms known as Dodd-Frank. His chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, and his nominee for Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, are both alumni of the Goldman Sachs investment bank.
“We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank,” Trump said Friday during a meeting with business leaders, including executives of Wall Street firms. “Because frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine, that had nice businesses, they just can’t borrow money … because the banks just won’t let them borrow because of the rules and regulations in Dodd-Frank.”
On the campaign trail, attacks on financial and political elites were mainstays of Trump’s stump speeches.
“I’m asking for the support of every voter … who wants to take our government back from the corrupt political class in Washington, D.C. … all Americans who are tired of a government that works for Wall Street and for special interests but not for the people,” Trump said at a Minneapolis campaign rally two days before the election. “It’s time for all Americans to unite and take back our government.”
Sanders, an independent who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination by pledging to curb the influence of billionaires and bankers, said the move against Dodd-Frank was only one of several contradictions between Trump’s campaign rhetoric and his governing actions.
“This is a guy who ran for president saying, I’m the only Republican (who’s) not going to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and then he appoints all of these guys who are precisely going to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” he said in an apparent reference to Trump’s nominees to lead the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Health and Human Services — both of whom have advocated for cutbacks in entitlement spending.
“Man, this is guy, he is a good showman, I will give you that,” Sanders continued. “He is a good TV guy, but I think he’s going to sell out the middle class and the working class of this country. … It is one thing if you run a campaign that says: Look, I think Wall Street’s great. I think the drug companies are great. I think we have to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and if people want to vote for that, that’s fine. That’s democracy. But you have a president who I think in a totally fraudulent campaign said that I’m going to stand up for the working people.
“Look at his cabinet: We’ve never had more billionaires in a Cabinet in the history in the country. Look at his appointees: These are people who are going after the needs of working families, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. That is called hypocrisy.”
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Mike Debonis