For-Profit President

Month One of Donald Trump’s Presidency: Enriching His Private Business, Carrying Out a Corporate Takeover and Putting Profits Before People

Follow this link for a PDF version of the report.

Read the follow-up report on the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency (PDF).

Note: Read the Presidents Day column on Trump’s for-profit presidency by Robert Weissman, Public Citizen president.

INTRODUCTION

From day one, President Trump has used his position to expand and enrich his private businesses, lead an unprecedented corporate takeover by installing CEOs and corporate cronies at the highest levels of government and advance policies the prioritize expanding Big Business profits at the expense of the public interest.

Much of what happened over the course of Trump’s first month in office was presaged by his transition, which was characterized by a rapid influx of corporate-connected staff who were made responsible for transferring power to the incoming administration.

The transition staff were soon upstaged by Trump’s cabinet nominees, a selection of CEOs and corporate-backed Republican officials who, if all are confirmed, threaten to form an unprecedented corporate cabinet.

And while plans for dramatic cuts to federal programs and high-level meetings with corporate executives regarding business matters before the government were going on before Trump took the oath of office, the true depth of the administration’s unswerving commitment to an especially savage version of corporate capitalism is now, after one month under the Trump administration, utterly clear.

DAY 1: Friday, January 20, 2017

Donald J. Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

Corporate Takeover

Among the top funders of the Inauguration and surrounding festivities are corporations that have pending business before the president: AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, Chevron, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase and United Parcel Service.

Profits Before People

Trump’s Inaugural Committee, which was responsible for raising private money to pay for the Inaugural festivities, includes corporate executives, right-wing billionaires, Goldman Sachs alums, corporate lobbyists and lawyers, and at least one convicted felon, a financier who pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

Profits Before People

Trump signs an executive order to weaken the Affordable Care Act.

Profits Before People

Trump signs an executive order to “freeze” regulations.

Corporate Takeover

General James Mattis, a former board member of multibillion-dollar military contractor General Dynamics, is sworn in as Secretary of Defense; General John Kelly, an advisor for DynCorp, a privately held military contractor, is sworn in as Secretary of Homeland Security.

DAY 2: Saturday, January 21, 2017

President Trump delivers a speech at CIA headquarters.

Profits Before People

During the speech, Trump speculates that the United States should have “taken the oil” from Iraq after the 2003–2011 Iraq war:

“[I]f we kept the oil, you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that’s where they made their money in the first place, so we should have kept the oil. But, OK, maybe we’ll have another chance.”

The idea that the US should have “taken” Iraq’s oil, which many critics note would contravene international law, was a campaign theme for Trump. Erik Prince, former CEO of Blackwater, a now-defunct corporate mercenary outfit, has defended the idea. (Prince is the brother of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Secretary nominee, and both are children of a Michigan billionaire.)

DAY 3: Sunday, January 22, 2017

Corporate Takeover

At the Davos World Economic Forum, corporate executives from around the globe had gathered to play make-believe about the refugee crisis and expressed optimistic views about the impending Trump administration.

Among them was Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S. with more than $2.4 trillion in assets. JPMorgan contributed to the Trump Inauguration and has spent millions lobbying to weaken the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act, which Trump’s transition website pledged to “dismantle.”

Dimon said:

Donald Trump has put some professional people around himself. Experienced. Successful. I know a lot of people seem to think that success and experience are reasons you shouldn’t serve in public office. But they are knowledgeable and smart and they’ve been around the world. And hopefully when we go from one-liners — forget the one-liners and tweets — to serious policy, maybe we’ll do the things that help America grow better and help the average American.

DAY 4: Monday, January 23, 2017

Corporate Takeover

Trump started his first full weekday in office with a breakfast meeting with CEOs of a dozen corporations including Arconic, Corning, Dell, Dow Chemical Company, Ford Motor Company, International Paper, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, UnderArmour and U.S. Steel.

Profits Before People

At the meeting, Trump said he would slash regulations “75 percent,” a promise there is no way to keep without eliminating bedrock public protections that restrain Wall Street recklessness, prevent drinking water from being contaminated, ensure the safety of our food and medicines, protect the environment, and so on, and which echoes the lie that regulatory protections impose greater costs than benefits on the U.S. economy.

Profits Before People

Trump signs an executive order instituting an immediate hiring freeze for all federal agency positions except “military personnel” and positions “deemed necessary for “national security” or “public safety,” a decision which, in effect, undermines agencies’ ability to monitor and take enforcement actions against reckless corporations.

Corporate Takeover

Jeffery H. Wood, a lobbyist for Southern Company, a coal-powered electric utility corporation, is appointed as acting assistant attorney general of the U.S. Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division — the division DOJ responsible for prosecuting environmental crimes.

Profits Before People

Internal communications at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meanwhile, revealed that the agency had been directed to suspend all contract and grant awards, an action that one EPA employee described as “extraordinary.”[22] (Following public outcry, the freeze was ended.)

DAY 5: Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Profits Before People

Trump signs executive orders to move forward with TransCanada’s Keystone XL and Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access oil pipelines.

Environmental and public interest groups sharply oppose the pipelines. The Obama administration had rejected the Keystone XL pipeline and delayed construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in response to concerns from environmental activists and Native Americans.

The American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s primary lobbying group, praised the executive orders.

Profits Before People

Trump signs an executive order directing the Commerce Department to rush the permitting process for the construction of factories and reducing public protections around these projects.

Profits Before People

Trump signs an executive order to rush environmental reviews of infrastructure projects.

Profits Before People

At a meeting with the CEOs of General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Ford Motor Company, Trump says environmental protections are “out of control” and entices the companies with promises to reduce taxes and “unnecessary” regulations.

DAY 6: Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Enriching Private Business

The CEO of Trump Hotels expressed interest in undertaking an aggressive expansion into major U.S. metropolitan areas.

Enriching Private Business

Trump chose Bobby Burchfield, chair of the Karl Rove dark money group Crossroads GPS and proponent of expanding big money’s role in politics, to be the ethics advisor for his business.

Enriching Private Business

And Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., has doubled its initiation fee to $200,000.

DAY 7: Thursday, January 26, 2017

Profits Before People

Trump signs an executive order placing a moratorium on international treaties, placing in doubt the future of the Paris climate agreement and other environmental treaties.

Corporate Takeover

Trump nominates Philip Bilden, a recently retired head of an international private equity firm, as Secretary of the Navy.

DAY 8: Friday, January 27, 2017

Corporate Takeover

Trump announces a “manufacturing jobs initiative” that will be led by Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris and include executives from corporations including Dell Technologies, Nucor Corporation, Whirlpool Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, U.S. Steel, Campbell Soup, Tesla, Caterpillar, 3M and Corning. The group of 28 includes a total of 25 representatives from corporations, one representative from corporate lobbying group Alliance for American Manufacturing and two labor union representatives from the AFL-CIO, including the union’s president, Richard Trumka (whose name is misspelled “Tumka” on the official White House announcement).

Enriching Private Business / Profits Before People

Trump signs executive order banning citizens of seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations from entering the U.S., igniting a firestorm of controversy. The list of seven countries does not include countries with a predominantly Muslim population with which the Trump Organization has done business.

Profits Before People

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) calls out the Trump administration’s Labor Department for taking down a website it created for Wells Fargo employees to report retaliation against whistleblowers.

Corporate Takeover

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon reportedly met at the White House with Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who Trump appointed director of the National Economic Council.

DAY 9: Saturday, January 28, 2017

Corporate Takeover

Trump signs an executive order on lobbying that loosens Obama administration restrictions on lobbyists.

According to the order, lobbyists will be permitted to become employees of federal agencies they have lobbied (though the will not be permitted to work on specific issues on which they lobbied) and the “cooling off” period restricting communications between appointees who leave and their agency will be reduced from two to one year.

The executive order also fails to place a five-year prohibition on members of Congress becoming lobbyists, which Trump pledged to do during the presidential campaign.

While administration officials are forbidden from becoming lobbyists, the executive order would still allow them to cash in on their service by becoming strategic advisors, consultants or taking similar roles that do not involve direct lobbying.

DAY 10: Sunday, January 29, 2017

Corporate Takeover / Profits Before People

Over the weekend, some CEOs wring their hands about how to voice opposition to Trump’s executive order banning Muslim immigrants. The New York Times reports that most executives, if they spoke out at all, worded criticism so that it was “purposely dripping with politeness.” An anonymous CEO expressed preference for restraining any opposition the company might express for the sake of appeasing employees and consumers while avoiding damaging relations with President Trump.

Out of the 19 CEO members of Trump’s Strategic and Economic Forum, only two spoke out against the ban.

DAY 11: Monday, January 30, 2017

Profits Before People

Trump signs a disastrous and likely unconstitutional executive order that would force federal agencies to eliminate two federal regulations for every one they wish to implement.

The executive order relies on a misleading, industry-preferred analysis that dramatically overestimate regulations’ future costs and gives the director of the Office of Management and Budget authority to exempt specific rules, including, potentially, those that benefit specific businesses, including the Trump Organization.

Corporate Takeover

Elaine Chao is sworn in as secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Chao is the daughter of James Chao, millionaire chairman of the Chinese shipping corporation Foremost Group, notable because the Transportation Department oversees the U.S. Maritime Administration. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is her husband. From 2011 to 2015, Chao received $1.2 million in compensation for serving on the board of directors of Wells Fargo. This period overlaps with the Wells Fargo “cross-selling” scandal, during which the company created more than 2 million unauthorized accounts. Chao also has served on the boards of directors for News Corporation, Dole and Protective Life Corporation, a financial service holding corporation.

DAY 12: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Profits Before People

Trump meets with pharmaceutical industry CEOs. Despite previous tough talk against the industry — he said they were “getting away with murder” and called for lowering prices — the primary takeaway from Trump’s meeting with pharma executives, including from Amgen, Celgene, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis and the industry group PhRMA, is the president’s pledge to cut taxes and eliminate public protections in order to speed up approvals.

He told the CEOs he would eliminate 75 to 80 percent of Food and Drug Administration regulations, a promise that, if fulfilled, would make the agency too weak to fulfill its mission of protecting patients and consumers and ultimately result in the deaths and injuries to innumerable Americans.

Profits Before People

Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court; Reuters characterizes Gorsuch as a “friend to business” when he was a private lawyer.

DAY 13: Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Corporate Takeover

Rex Tillerson is sworn in as Secretary of State.

Before his nomination, Tillerson spent ten years as chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, the word’s largest oil corporation, where Tillerson had been employed for his entire professional life.

Tillerson is a former chairman of American Petroleum Institute (API), the fossil fuel industry trade group, which lobbies on behalf of the industry. ExxonMobil and API are among the groups behind misinformation campaigns designed to confuse the public about the reality of human-caused climate change.

Tillerson also is a member of the Business Roundtable, an executive-led corporate lobbying group. In the 1990s, Tillerson directed Exxon’s Russian subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas, which was incorporated in the Bahamas, an offshore tax haven.

DAY 14: Thursday, February 2, 2017

Profits Before People

In a speech, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s newly appointed acting chair, “regulation critic” Maureen Ohlhausen, announces a scaling back of the agency’s aggressiveness in investigating corporate crime and wrongdoing.

Ohlhausen says requests for information from companies “impose large compliance costs on legitimate companies” and notes disagreement with some of her predecessor’s actions under the Obama administration, such as the $20 million settlement reached with Uber over its allegedly misleading claims about potential driver earnings, which, she criticized as too costly for the corporation.

Profits Before People

On the same day, Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast vowed to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a 1950s era law prohibiting electioneering activity by nonprofit organization and which, if completely repealed, could unleash a torrent of secret corporate money in politics.

DAY 15: Friday, February 3, 2017

Corporate Takeover

Trump holds the first meeting of his Strategic and Policy Forum, a team of 18 corporate CEOs chaired by Stephen Schwarzman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone, and including CEOs of General Motors, JPMorgan Chase, Walt Disney, Wal-Mart, Boeing, Tesla, PepsiCo, IBM and General Electric.

Profits Before People

After the meeting, Trump signs an executive order aimed at unraveling the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal about the deregulating Wall Street, White House National Economic Council Director and former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn said, “we’re not going to burden the banks with literally hundreds of billions of dollars of regulatory costs every year.” Cohn insisted his involvement with the deregulation push “has nothing to do with Goldman Sachs.”

Profits Before People

Trump also signs an executive order to block implementation of an Obama administration Labor Department rule requiring financial advisors to give advice based on their customers’ best interests.

Enriching Private Business

Trump left the White House for a weekend trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort, a trip which is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $3 million. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that a business trip by Trump’s son Eric cost taxpayers nearly $100,000.

DAY 16: Saturday, February 4, 2017

Enriching Private Business

The New York Times reports on Trump’s ongoing ties to the Trump Organization, which include Trump maintaining authority to revoke the corporate network’s oversight by his son Donald Jr. and chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and continuing to receive reports on the Trump Organization’s profits or losses. President Trump remains the sole beneficiary of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.

Profits Before People

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) removes information from its website about the mistreatment of animals at pet stores, laboratories, zoos and dog breeding operations. The Washington Post reports that eliminating the USDA database was a priority for the Calvary Group, an industry group that opposes oversight of businesses that rely on animals.

DAY 17: Sunday, February 5, 2017

Profits Before People

Jim O’Neill, who reportedly has said corporations should not be required to prove that a drug is effective before selling it to consumers, is, according to The New York Times, in the running to be Trump’s nominee to head the FDA. Other candidates for the FDA post also oppose regulations that can slow the drug approval process.

Profits Before People

Ajit Pai, a net neutrality opponent chosen by Trump to head the Federal Communications Commission, closed investigations into Verizon and AT&T data policies and unraveled consumer protections.

DAY 18: Monday, February 6, 2017

Profits Before People

Republican opponents of financial regulation inside Trump’s circle want to get rid of Richard Cordray, director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Todd Zywicki, a right-wing libertarian associated the Cato Institute and George Mason University’s Koch-funded Mercatus Center, who has called the CFPB a “disastrous” and “unaccountable super-regulator,” has spoken with the Trump administration about being Cordray’s replacement.

Enriching Private Business

First Lady Melania Trump intends to make multimillion-dollar “licensing, branding, and endorsement” deals in “apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care, and fragrance,” according to a lawsuit she files against British tabloid the Daily Mail. The lawsuit argues that, because the Daily Mail inaccurately alleged Melania Trump had worked as an escort, she will have a reduced ability to profit off her time in the White House.[77] Melania’s representatives later issued a statement claiming she has “no intention” of profiting from her role as first lady.

Profits Before People

A rule that would require corporations to disclose pay inequities between their CEO and the average employee is placed on hold by Acting Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Michael Piwowar. Corporations and corporate groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have lobbied aggressively against the rule, which was mandated in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

DAY 19: Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Corporate Takeover

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Education, is sworn in following a historic 50–50 Senate confirmation vote, a tie that was broken by Vice President Mike Pence adding his vote.

DeVos is the daughter of a Michigan manufacturing billionaire and the wife of Amway heir and billionaire Richard DeVos.

DeVos is an advocate for privatizing public education, a Wall Street-backed scheme that depends on profiting by undermining teacher compensation.

Profits Before People

Under Trump, the Army grants Energy Transfer Partners the final permit it needs to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline.

DAY 20: Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Profits Before People

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defends Trump’s “one-in, two-out” deregulation executive order after Public Citizen, Natural Resources Defense Council and Communications Workers of America file a lawsuit, Public Citizen v. Trump, to block the order.

DAY 21: Thursday, February 9, 2017

Enriching Private Business

Go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said from the West Wing of the White House while on the Fox News Channel. “I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”

Conway’s comments came after Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, citing insufficient sales, and President Trump subsequently criticized the retailer using @POTUS, the president’s official Twitter account.

Public Citizen called for an investigation into whether Conway’s comments violate laws against using public office for private gain. The Office of Government Ethics later described Conway’s statement as a “clear violation” and recommended the White House conduct an investigation.

Profits Before People

At a meeting with airline industry CEOs, Trump and executives share an interest in privatizing air traffic control.

Profits Before People

Senator Jeff Sessions is sworn in as Attorney General, head of the U.S. Department of Justice.

At least a third of Sessions’ top political campaign donors are corporations with matters pending before the Justice Department. This includes Southern Company, a coal-powered electric utility corporation, and Sessions’ top donor, which contributed more than $500,000 to support Sessions’ reelection. Sessions’ stint in the 1990s as Attorney General of Alabama is checkered by his failure to combat corporate crime and wrongdoing.

DAY 22: Friday, February 10, 2017

Profits Before People

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who wants to privatize Medicare, repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood, is sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services. His extensive trading in health industry stocks has raised serious questions about conflicts of interest and possible insider trading.

Enriching Private Business

Trump returns to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., to meet there with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. According to White House aides, Trump will pay for the lodging of the prime minister and his wife as a gift.[98] The owner of the New England Patriots joins Trump and Abe for dinner, and members of the president’s club “mingled with Trump and Abe into the night,” according to the Associated Press.

Profits Before People

Auto industry CEOs send a letter urging Trump to weaken fuel efficiency standards.

Corporate Takeover

Geoff Burr, recently a lobbyist for the Associated Builders and Contractors, a construction industry trade group, is now helping run the U.S. Department of Labor, thanks to Trump’s executive order that weakened the executive branch lobbying restrictions.

DAY 23: Saturday, February 11, 2017

Enriching Private Business

President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe traveled from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to a Trump golf course in Jupiter, Fla., where they golfed with professional Ernie Els.

Upon sighting the billionaire Chiquita heir Carl Lindner IV and his soon-to-be-spouse at Mar-a-Lago, Trump says that he “said to the Prime Minister of Japan, I said, ‘C’mon Shinzo, let’s go over and say hello.’ “ He later remarked of the couple, who held their wedding ceremony at Trump’s club that night, “They’ve been members of this club for a long time […] They’ve paid me a fortune.”

Corporate Takeover

Bloomberg News reports there are so many Goldman Sachs alums entering the Trump administration that an incoming Goldman Sachs alum may have to accept a lower-than-expected administration post.

DAY 24: Sunday, February 12, 2017

Corporate Takeover

The New York Times details the connections between President Trump and Rupert Murdoch, founder of the global corporate media empire that includes News Corporation, which is seen as offering the friendliest coverage of the Trump administration.

Enriching Private Business

Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. continue to expand the Trump Organization, attending a ribbon cutting in Dubai, restarting a stalled project in the Dominican Republic and planning to open a new hotel chain in up to 30 U.S. cities.

DAY 25: Monday, February 13, 2017

Corporate Takeover

Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury Secretary, is sworn in.

Mnuchin worked for 17 years at Goldman Sachs. He went on to oversee OneWest, a bank known for aggressively pursuing foreclosures against homeowners. Mnuchin lied to the Senate Finance Committee, falsely claiming that OneWest did not engage in “robo-signing” and other violations of foreclosure processes.

Profits Before People

Despite beginning with an awkward handshake, Trump’s meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau left “corporate Canada” with a sense of relief, according to The Canadian Press. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which represents key beneficiaries of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, and which Trump supports, praised the meeting.

DAY 26: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Corporate Takeover

Linda McMahon, billionaire and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), is sworn in as head of the Small Business Administration. McMahon is credited with deregulating wrestling, leading the families of some deceased wrestlers to hold her responsible for the wrestlers’ early deaths.

Profits Before People

Trump signs a bill to eliminate a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule intended to root out foreign corruption in the fossil fuel industry. The rule was designed to prevent and expose bribery by requiring corporations in the oil, gas and mining sectors to disclose payments to foreign governments. ExxonMobil lobbied against the rule for years while under the leadership of then-CEO Rex Tillerson, who Trump appointed to head the U.S. State Department.

The bill is the first of a series that congressional Republicans plan to send to the president’s desk through the rapid-repeal method allowed under the Gingrich-era Congressional Review Act, which also blocks agencies from creating similar rules after they are cut using this method.

Collectively, corporate interests that spent more than $1 billion to influence Congress oppose the protections Republicans seek to eliminate.

DAY 27: Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Profits Before People

The acting head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), an enforcement agency with major responsibilities involving protecting investors and policing the financial sector, acted to limit the enforcement authority of 20 senior officials. The move limits officials’ ability to subpoena corporations suspected of criminal wrongdoing; a former SEC commissioner says the new limits on subpoena power “could slow down” investigations.

Corporate Takeover

Billionaire Republican megadonor and Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson joined Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a dinner meeting at the White House.

Profits Before People

The Trump administration’s proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act’s implementation that analysts say may boost insurance company profits but raise prices for consumers.

Corporate Takeover

Billionaire hedge fund manager Stephen Feinberg, a co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, is reportedly in the running to conduct a review of intelligence agencies for the White House, sparking concern among the intelligence community. Cerberus owns DynCorp, a military contractor embroiled in a $10 billion contract dispute with the Department of State.

DAY 28: Thursday, February 16, 2017

Profits Before People

A letter from 773 former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials urges the U.S. Senate to oppose Scott Pruitt, Trump’s nominee to lead the agency, as current EPA staff lobby against his appointment.

Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general when he received the nomination, has a history of climate denial, suing the EPA and allowing the fossil fuel industry to draft lobby letters on the attorney general’s letterhead.

The Trump administration has signaled executive orders to reshape the EPA will be coming after Pruitt is confirmed.

DAY 29: Friday, February 17, 2017

Profits Before People

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) is sworn in as director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Mulvaney has a history as an anti-regulation extremist who has supported “ending Medicare as we know it,” called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme,” and referred to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as “a joke.”

Profits Before People

By a vote of 52–46, Scott Pruitt is confirmed to head the EPA.

Corporate Takeover

Trump names Mike Dubke, an ally of the infamous right-wing billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and corporate dark money kingpin Karl Rove, to be White House communications director.

Enriching Private Business

For the third week in a row, Trump returns to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., at vast expense to taxpayers.

DAY 30: Saturday, February 18, 2017

Corporate Takeover / Enriching Private Business

Trump kicks off his 2020 campaign with a rally near his Mar-a-Lago resort.

The New York Times reports on Mar-a-Lago’s wealthy members, who have an unprecedented degree of access and influence with the President of the United States.

Members include fossil fuel billionaire William Koch, the lesser-known brother of the more politically active Charles and David Koch, electronic trading billionaire Thomas Peterffy, and various corporate executives.

Enriching Private Business

Eric and Don Jr. attend grand opening of new Trump golf resort in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with business partner and Dubai billionaire Hussain Sajwani. Preparations for a ribbon cutting at a new Trump-branded hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia, are ongoing, with business partner and Malaysian multimillionaire Tiah Thee Kian.

Enriching Private Business

President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trips plus the Trump sons’ international business trips are estimated cost taxpayers more than $11.3 million after just one month, nearly as much as a year’s of President Obama’s travel expenses.

DAY 31: Sunday, February 19, 2017

Profits Before People

At Mar-a-Lago, Trump strategizes Affordable Care Act repeal with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney. The repeal is a priority for corporate-backed groups like the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity, who have pushed aggressively on the issue.

Enriching Private Business

Ties between Trump’s personal lawyer, an associate tasked by the Trump Organization with scouting for Russian business and a Ukrainian politician are implicated in Trump’s overtures to Russia.