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Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Trump Would Sell Anything for Personal Gain—Even Planet Earth

Tells oil execs they can have whatever they want if the price is right

ROBERT REICH in Robertreich.Substack.Com

Trump is selling everything to raise money for himself and his campaign.

The Trump Bible (which also includes a copy of the U.S. Constitution, Pledge of Allegiance, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights).

Trump shoes (ranging from the nearly all-gold “Never Surrender” high tops priced at $399 to the lower-cut “Red Wave” and “POTUS 45”).

Shares in Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform.

Digital trading cards (of which the most recent set, “The Mugshot edition,” offers collectors a chance to own a swatch of the suit the former president wore for his Fulton County, Georgia, mugshot, priced at $99 a piece or $4,653 for the full set, which includes an invitation to a dinner at Mar-a-Lago).

Trump cologne and perfume stamped with the former president’s name (the “Victory47” bottles are each listed for $99 respectively. The cologne bottle’s image, subject to change, has a Trump head topper).

But now, Trump is selling something far, far bigger. In fact, you can’t get any bigger.

He’s selling the entire world.

You might think that the world can’t be bought and sold, but apparently there are no bounds to the promises Trump will make to get back into the White House.

Everything’s for sale.

When Trump sat down with some of America’s top oil executives last month at Mar-a-Lago, according to the The Washington Post, they complained of burdensome environmental regulations, despite spending $400 million to lobby the Biden administration in the last year.

Trump’s response? He would offer them a better deal.

He told them to raise $1 billion to return him to the White House and he’d reverse dozens of Biden’s environmental rules and policies and stop new ones from being enacted (according to people with knowledge of the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation).

The $1 billion “deal” would more than pay for itself, Trump told the oil executives, because of the taxes and regulations they would avoid thanks to him.

Biden has called global warming an “existential threat,” and over the last three years, his administration has finalized 100 new environmental regulations aimed at cutting air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, restricting toxic chemicals, and conserving public lands and waters.

Trump has called climate change a “hoax.” His administration weakened or wiped out more than 125 environmental rules over four years.

Now, he’s making an even bigger offer. At that Mar-a-Lago dinner, the former president told Big Oil executives that they’ll have an even greater windfall in a second Trump administration — including new offshore drilling, speedier permits, and other relaxed regulations — if they sink a billion into his campaign.

Trump promised to immediately end the Biden administration’s freeze on permits for new liquefied natural gas exports — a top priority for the executives. “You’ll get it on the first day,” Trump said.

Trump told the executives that he would start auctioning off more leases for oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, another priority for several of the executives. He railed against wind power. And he said he would reverse the restrictions on drilling in the Alaskan Arctic.

Trump also promised that he would scrap Biden’s rules for electric vehicles. The rules require automakers to reduce emissions from car tailpipes butdon’t mandate a particular technology such as EVs. Trump called the rules “ridiculous” in the meeting with donors.

Will Big Oil put up $1 billion for all of this? Maybe.

© 2021

ROBERT REICH is the Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. His book include: "Aftershock" (2011), "The Work of Nations" (1992), "Beyond Outrage" (2012) and, "Saving Capitalism" (2016). He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, former chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." Reich's newest book is "The Common Good" (2019). He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.