Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that the Interior Department spent $139,000 on a door—or possibly three doors—for Secretary Ryan Zinke. This latest exorbitant cost to taxpayers is just one of many coming from the Trump administration. Here are a few other outrageous examples.
- EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt avoided commercial flights because he did not want to talk to people in coach, and racked up a bill of $60,000 for four private plane trips.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, took “a government aircraft to Kentucky on a trip that involved viewing the solar eclipse.” All told, Mnuchin spent more than $800,000 on military flights instead of flying commercial.
- Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin traveled with his wife to Europe, on an expensive trip that included “a Wimbledon championship tennis match, tour[ing] Westminster Abbey and tak[ing] a cruise on the Thames.” Although it was originally a work trip, half their time was spent sightseeing.
And remember: these are just the most outrageous examples. Wasting taxpayer money—something Trump pledged to stop—has become a norm in this administration. It’s all part of a culture of corruption that is leaving the American people with little benefit and a lot of bills.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#BankLobbyistAct. This week, the Senate has been debating Senate Bill 2155, which would roll back major protections for consumers and deregulate some of the largest banks in this country. Bottom line: It could push us back towards a Great Recession. The debate will continue next week, so we must make our voices heard. Fight back by using Indivisible’s Call Guide here. And sign Public Citizen’s petition opposing the legislation here.
Progress in North Korea? News broke last night that President Trump will meet with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. This is an important first step in using diplomacy to advance America’s national security interests in that region. But, Trump’s instability on this issue and North Korea’s aggression leave room for concern. It’s crucial that the United States continue to work with our key allies in the region—South Korea and Japan. Trump should also ensure that the State Department is fully funded and staffed, so that diplomats are empowered to do the jobs they were trained to do.
“Immoral.” Earlier this week, while speaking to the gas and oil industries at a large conference, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said that it was “immoral” to encourage impoverished nations to shift from fossil fuels. While this comment seems shocking, don’t forget Perry once said that fossil fuels help prevent rape in Africa. Perry’s views on energy production are in line with the rest of the Trump administration, which overwhelmingly rejects climate science. And these views are dangerous and costly. The Financial Times reported, “Fossil fuel companies risk wasting almost $1.6 trillion on oil, gas and coal projects that will become uneconomic,” if the world continues to adopt policies that fight climate change’s worst impacts.
UNDER THE RADAR
#HandsOffMedicaid. Following actions taken by Kentucky, Alabama is seeking to impose strict so-called work requirements for its Medicaid recipients. Opponents quickly blasted the proposal, noting that it would primarily target women, as they make up the majority of Medicaid recipients in Alabama. Not only do “work requirements” fail to create a single job, they kick struggling workers when they’re down–and under Trump’s “work requirements” at least 6.3 million Americans—including students, caregivers, and retirees—could be at risk of losing their health care. In fact, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities writes, “Its proposal, however, actually would penalize work: because Alabama hasn’t expanded its program, those who comply with the new requirements by working more hours or finding a job will raise their income above the state’s stringent Medicaid income limits, thereby losing their Medicaid coverage and likely becoming uninsured.” Share your story at HandsOff.org.