When Donald Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 election, AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders said our union will hold him accountable for his promises to working families.
“We will do what we do best to hold President-elect Trump accountable on his promise to restore the American Dream: organize and advocate for solutions for all working people, from affordable health care for all, to reducing student debt, to rebuilding America’s infrastructure,” Saunders said back in November 2016.
But Trump didn’t waste any time in proving our worst fears about him. And 2017 been a very long year for working families.
In 2018, AFSCME will continue to hold Trump accountable and document the ways he continues to hurt working people.
The early signs that Trump would renege on the populist rhetoric that got him elected came with his choice of cabinet secretaries.
He chose people like Betsy DeVos, a proponent of privatizing public education, to head the Department of Education; Scott Pruitt, who cultivated close ties with coal and gas companies, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency; and Rick Perry, who once said that as president he would abolish the Energy Department, to manage that same agency.
That was just the beginning. At a time when health care costs continue to rise and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has saved millions of lives, Trump pushed to repeal the health care law despite its growing popularity among middle-class families. In the end, he and Congress failed in this attempt after millions of working people – including AFSCME members – said no.
Repealing ACA would have taken health care away from millions of people and endangered countless lives. And it was always about funding tax cuts for the rich.
Reforming the tax code to benefit middle-class families was another campaign promise. But the tax bill that congressional leaders approved a few days before Christmas – and Trump signed a few days later – strongly favors corporations and the wealthy at the expense of working families. It is a huge giveaway to people like Trump, his children and the Trump family business, and it will increase inequality in our country.
The list goes on. The Trump administration has reflexively rolled back regulations, including some that were meant to help workers save for retirement and protect them from bad investment advice. The Federal Communications Commission reversed the policy known as net neutrality, which means internet providers may now charge variable rates to their customers depending on which websites they visit. And the Education Department seeks to eliminate protections that help prevent sham for-profit universities from preying on college graduates.
Before he became president, Trump ran questionable enterprises like Trump University and was known to short small business owners from payment for goods and services. And yet some people hoped that the presidency would change him.
Nearly one year in, such hopes have vanished. Donald Trump the con man has simply become President Con Man.