News Release Archive - 2016

Billionaire Carl Icahn Vetted Trump EPA Nominee, Has Business Before Agency

refinery-109024_1920_pixabay-creative-commons-2[Public Citizen tweeted Thursday: “We turned Trump’s #draintheswamp campaign ad on its head to expose who he really is — a corporatist, not a populist.” See the video.]

Thursday, it was reported Donald Trump would nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Friday morning, many media outlets are reporting U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is expected to be his nominee for secretary of the interior. See: “Revealed: The Trump Administration’s Energy Plan.”

STEVE HORN, steve [at] desmogblog.com, @SteveAHorn
Horn is an investigative journalist and writer for DeSmogBlog.com. He just wrote the piece “The Billionaire Energy Investor Who Vetted Trump’s EPA Pick Has Long List of EPA Violations.”

Horn said today: “Missed in most tales about Scott Pruitt being Trump’s nominee at EPA is that a multi-billionaire energy investor, Carl Icahn, actually vetted and interviewed finalists for the Trump EPA job. And Icahn, a business partner of Trump and a donor to his campaign, owns significant assets which would be and have been impacted by EPA regulations. This is not what ‘draining the swamp’ looks like, but more like what a Banana Republic looks like.”

Horn writes: “Asked for his take on President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), multi-billionaire investor and Trump business partner Carl Icahn told Bloomberg that Pruitt is ‘going to really be a breath of fresh air.’ Given Icahn’s business ties, that statement is steeped in accidental irony. … A DeSmog investigation shows that Icahn Enterprises owns oil industry assets based in Oklahoma, which are involved in EPA enforcement violations, and does business with TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline system.”

A New McCarthyism?

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The Hill on Thursday published the piece “McCarthy’s ghost smiles as Dems point the finger at Russia” by Norman Solomon.

ELLEN SCHRECKER. ellen.schrecker [at] gmail.com
A retired professor of American history at Yeshiva University, Schrecker is a leading authority on McCarthyism whose books include Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America and No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism in the Universities.

She said today: “In many ways, a new form of McCarthyism could appear. Trump adviser Newt Gingrich has called for a new House Un-American Activities Committee to target ‘Islamic extremists.’ Meanwhile, proposed blacklists — of anti-conservative professors, allegedly Russian-oriented websites, and who knows what else — are sprouting up within the mainstream. And, if we think about personalities, we should recall that McCarthy himself was often out of control.

“But, what is critical and what is poorly understood is how what we call McCarthyism depended on the willing collaboration of liberals and moderates who normalized its anti-communist hysteria. Hubert Humphrey not only backed the Internal Security Act of 1950, originally sponsored by Richard Nixon, but even added provisions for concentration camps for communists.

“Universities are particularly endangered. Reagan became governor of California by running against Berkeley. Today, we see ‘political correctness’ being used as a pretext to target higher education as well as an increasingly successful campaign to silence the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

“The net effect of the acquiescence of liberals and moderates is, as in the fifties, the further silencing of the left, the elimination of substantive controversy, and a normalization of right-wing extremism.”

COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net, @ColeenRowley
Rowley, a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002.

She said today: “Why are so many U.S. politicians so keen on resurrecting the ghost of Joseph McCarthy? The ‘Red Scare’ fear of Communism spanned FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s entire 47-year career and stupidly motivated him to overlook organized crime while working with and feeding information to Joseph McCarthy [and the] House Un-American Activities Committee vilifying and blacklisting thousands of productive and prominent American citizens, as disparate as the last century’s most important scientist Albert Einstein and American folk singer Pete Seeger. The same irrational fear was a main factor in ginning up the disastrous Vietnam War and also led Hoover’s FBI to begin its COINTELPRO program targeting Martin Luther King Jr. (among others).

“The simple answer to why this sordid McCarthy-like history seems to be on the verge of repeating can be found in the prescient words of James Madison, known as the ‘Father of the Constitution,’ who recognized that ‘Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.’ That is why Madison and other Founding Fathers tried so hard to guarantee First Amendment freedoms of speech, association and press and put ‘checks and balances’ into the supreme law of the land to try to prevent what has now happened: a state of ‘perpetual war’ taking hold.”

Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, wrote in his piece: “On Tuesday, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and six ranking members of major House committees sent President Obama a letter declaring, ‘We are deeply concerned by Russian efforts to undermine, interfere with, and even influence the outcome of our recent election.’

“A prominent signer of the letter — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee — is among the Democrats most eager to denounce Russian subversion.

“A week ago, when the House approved by a 390-30 margin and sent to the Senate the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal 2017, Schiff praised ‘important provisions aimed at countering Russia’s destabilizing efforts — including those targeting our elections.’ One of those ‘important provisions,’ Section 501, sets up in the executive branch ‘an interagency committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence.’

“This high-level committee could easily morph into a protracted real-life nightmare. … All in all, the provision is a gift for the next president, tied up in a bow by congressional Democrats.”

Trump EPA Nominee Pruitt a “Petroleum Puppet”

Donald Trump’s reported nominee for Environmental Protection Agency administrator is Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman stated that he “is a dangerous and unqualified choice. As Attorney General, Scott Pruitt consistently failed to uphold his responsibility to protect our nation’s air and water, instead acting as an agent of the oil and gas industry — at the expense of the American people — every time.”

ANTHONY ROGERS-WRIGHT, anthony [at] environmental-action.org, @EnviroAction
Anthony Rogers-Wright is policy and organizing director of Environmental Action. He said today: “President-elect Trump continues to engender a foundation of concern for those in the climate, environmental and social justice movements with his appointments to imperative federal positions. The nomination of Oklahoma attorney general, Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency would be like asking David Duke to head a Civil Rights Commission named after Barry Goldwater.

“Pruitt has been a thorn in the side of the agency charged with being the nation’s vanguard for natural resources and climate change. He’s sued EPA over the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule, has advocated heavily for increased fracking and fracked gas infrastructure and has even been implicated in sending letters to federal officials that were almost entirely written by the oil and gas industry. He has proven to be nothing more than a petroleum puppet whose strings are being pulled by Big Oil whom he’s beholden to. Worse yet, he’s a climate denier like his fellow Oklahoman, Climate-Denier-In-Chief, Sen. James Inhofe. With nearly 200 science deniers in Congress already, we can’t afford for the EPA to become an agency bereft of scientific considerations.

“Pruitt’s confirmation would be perilous for our climate, natural resources and dismantle the agency’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable populations through their environmental justice initiatives. The only things that would be protected under a Pruitt EPA would be Big Oil profits and their belief that they can slash, drill, burn, and pollute with no consequences. It’s our duty as concerned citizens, climate justice advocates and moral people to do all that we can to block this nomination with all haste.”

Kissinger in Norway: Calls for Prosecution

RootsAction has just initiated a petition: “Tell Norway to Arrest Henry Kissinger when he speaks at Nobel Peace Prize forum.” The group states: “Unbelievably, the Nobel Committee has arranged for well-known war mastermind Henry Kissinger to speak as an honored guest at a forum that is part of the Nobel Peace Prize events this year in Oslo.

“Nobel Peace Prize Watch has asked the Norwegian Director of Public Prosecutions to arrest Kissinger.

“Kissinger transmitted President Nixon’s orders for ‘massive’ bombing of Cambodia in 1969, saying, ‘Anything that flies on everything that moves.’ He played a major role in the policies that heavily bombed Vietnam and Laos.

“For fear of being apprehended and tried for a unique record of serious crimes under international law, Kissinger is very careful about where he travels. In 2001 in Paris, Kissinger was served with a summons to appear before a judge the next day, and then immediately checked out of the Ritz Hotel and left the country. The summons was for his role in Operation Condor in the 1970s, a coordinated campaign of murder and torture by the secret police forces of seven South American dictatorships.

“After supporting an assassination in Chile, Kissinger commented: ‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible.’

“Kissinger supported violence in Cyprus, Kurdistan, East Timor, India, and elsewhere. Several of Kissinger’s crimes come under treaties that make it mandatory for Norway to prosecute. Kissinger is complicit or a main actor in many violations of the Genocide Convention and of the Geneva Conventions.”

FREDRIK HEFFERMEHL, fredpax [at] online.no
TOMAS MAGNUSSON, mail [at] nobelwill.org
Heffermehl and Magnusson are founding board members of Nobel Nobel Peace Prize Watch. Heffermehl also wrote the book The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted.

They have just written a “Request for Summons” [PDF] to Tor-Aksel Busch, the director of public prosecutions in Norway: “The discrepancy between the world of Kissinger and the peace by global disarmament and co-operation, the demilitarized ‘fraternity of nations’ ideas, the Nobel committee was supposed to promote, is so glaring that it defies comment. …We wish to draw your attention to Kissinger´s comprehensive, unparalleled record of serious international crimes and the need for prosecutorial action.”

See also: recent piece in the New Yorker: “Does Henry Kissinger Have a Conscience?” Also see “America Keeps Honoring One of Its Worst Mass Murderers: Henry Kissinger” by Fred Branfman.

Kissinger also recently made news meeting Donald Trump. The Boston Globe reported that in a post-election meeting, Kissinger recommended that Trump “Make peace in Syria as we made it in the former Yugoslavia 20 years ago, by ‘cantonizing’ the country and giving President Bashar al-Assad a one-year ‘off-ramp,’ or exit route.”

Recount Upshot: “Victories” by Mere Pluralities

rcv-1-2-3AP reports: “The presidential recount in Michigan expands Tuesday to its largest county, which includes Detroit, and five other large counties, with the fate of a statewide recount push in Pennsylvania awaiting action in federal court.

“President-elect Donald Trump narrowly defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in both states and Wisconsin, which started its recount last week. The recounts requested by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein were not expected to change enough votes to overturn the result of the election.”

[Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report notes that the votes that Stein got in the three states currently exceed Trump’s margin of victory. In none of the three states did Trump get an actual majority of votes cast. For example, in Michigan, it’s Trump 47.5, Clinton 47.2, Johnson 3.5 and Stein 1 percent.]

ROB RICHIE, rr [at] fairvote.org, @Rob_Richie
Richie is executive director of FairVote. He just wrote the piece “Hacking America’s Antiquated Elections” for Cato Unbound. He said today: “FairVote’s review of all statewide recounts since 2000 shows that this year’s presidential election recounts won’t change the outcome, absent discovery of election theft involving organized voter fraud.

“But increased scrutiny to the results highlights a huge problem we easily could fix by state law: recounting the ballots still won’t allow us to know how backers of Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and other candidates would have voted if able to indicate their backup preference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

“In fact, no candidate won a majority of the popular vote in 14 states. Stein’s vote totals alone were greater than the winning margin in the three states where she’s seeking recounts — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — while Johnson’s vote totals were greater than the winning margin in an additional seven states. (Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, and New Mexico.) [See: USelectionatlas.org/RESULTS and Dave Wasserman spreadsheet.]

“Most presidential elections around the world use runoff elections, as done this month in Louisiana’s Senate race, and Stein and Johnson support an approach that states could adopt by statute before 2020. … Ranked choice voting liberates voters to support the candidates they like without inadvertently helping to elect the candidate they like the least. It gives voters more voice by allowing them to rank candidates in order of choice, and those rankings can simulate an ‘instant runoff.'”

MICHELLE WHITTAKER, mwhittaker [at] fairvote.org, @fairvote
Communications director for FairVote, Whittaker said today: “It is highly unlikely that the recounts will change the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. FairVote’s analysis of the 27 election recounts from 2000-2015 shows that the shift in margin is less than 0.02 percent. However, state recounts offer an important reminder that there must be trust and integrity in our elections systems from beginning to end.

“All three states targeted for recounts were won by a mere plurality. We saw similar plurality wins in the primaries and in many statewide elections. When a majority of voters cast ballots for someone other than the winner, democracy is failing all of us. We need innovative reforms like ranked choice voting which gives every voter a stronger voice to elect leaders that represent the will of the people.

“Last month Maine became the first state to adopt ranked choice voting for statewide elections for governor, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and state legislature when voters approved a ballot question with 52 percent of the vote. All voters deserve an election system where their vote matters and is counted properly. While the 2016 election outcome is unlikely to change, everyone can take action now to make representative democracy a reality for all.” See Institute for Public Accuracy news release from Election Day: “The ‘Second-Most Important Vote’ Today.” See resource page: “Ranked Choice Voting in States.”

Neo-McCarthyite Push in Congress and Media

wapowebNORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive [at] gmail.com
Author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, Solomon just wrote the piece “Media Complicity Is Key to Blacklisting Websites,” which states: “We still don’t have any sort of apology or retraction from the Washington Post for promoting ‘The List’ — the highly dangerous blacklist that got a huge boost from the newspaper’s fawning coverage on November 24. The project of smearing 200 websites with one broad brush wouldn’t have gotten far without the avid complicity of high-profile media outlets, starting with the Post.

On Thursday — a week after the Post published its front-page news article hyping the blacklist that was put out by a group of unidentified people called PropOrNot — I sent a petition statement to the newspaper’s executive editor Martin Baron.

“‘Smearing is not reporting,’ the RootsAction petition says. … The reply came from the newspaper’s vice president for public relations, Kristine Coratti Kelly, who thanked me ‘for reaching out to us’ before presenting the Post’s response. … But that damage-control response was as full of holes as the news story it tried to defend.

“For one thing, PropOrNot wasn’t just another source for the Post’s story. As The New Yorker noted in a devastating article on Dec. 1, the story ‘prominently cited the PropOrNot research.’ …

“President Harry Truman issued an executive order in March 1947 to establish ‘loyalty’ investigations in every agency of the federal government. Joe McCarthy and the era named after him were soon to follow.”

Solomon is founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of RootsAction.org, which just launched another action regarding related new legislation: “Block Creation of Neo-McCarthyite Committee“; see below for more information.

YVES SMITH, webber [at] auroraadvisors.com
Smith is founder of Naked Capitalism — one of the outlets targeted by PropOrNot. She recently wrote the pieces “PropOrNot’s Grandiose Fabrications,” “We Demand That the Washington Post Retract Its Propaganda Story Defaming Naked Capitalism and Other Sites and Issue an Apology” and the satirical “We Launch PropOrNot.Org To Identify Inept Propagandists and School Amplifiers Like the Washington Post on How to Spot Them.”

SUE UDRY, sue [at] bordc.org
Udry is executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee / Defending Dissent Foundation. She said today: “Last week, the House passed a dangerous bill that threatens freedom of the press in the United States. The Intelligence Authorization Act includes a provision that creates a Committee to counter Russian ‘media manipulation,’ ‘disinformation,’ and other covert measures in the U.S.”

See the just-launched RootsAction national action, which notes: “The mandate of the Committee is extremely broad, including ‘such other duties as the President may designate…’ Those words are a blank check that could lead to blacklists or a witch hunt reminiscent of the McCarthy era. …”

Added Udry: “‘Fake news’ based on lies and deception is frustrating and a real problem, but a government committee made up of people appointed by the Attorney General and heads of the FBI, Department of Defense, and National Intelligence, is most definitely NOT the answer.”

Mattis at Pentagon

WILLIAM HARTUNG, williamhartung55 [at] gmail.com, @williamhartung
Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.

He recently wrote the piece “A Pentagon Rising: Is a Trump Presidency Good News for the Military-Industrial Complex?” for TomDispatch, which states: “The person currently rumored to be the frontrunner … is General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, a 44-year Marine and former head of the U.S. Central Command who left the military in 2013 amid disagreements with the Obama administration over how many troops to deploy in Iraq and how hard a line to take on Iran. According to a Washington Post profile of Mattis, he ‘consistently pushed the military to punish Iran and its allies, including calling for more covert actions to capture and kill Iranian operatives and interdictions of Iranian warships.’ …

“Pentagon spending is one of the worst possible ways of creating jobs. Much of the money goes to service contractors, arms industry executives, and defense consultants (also known as ‘Beltway bandits’), and what does go into the actual building of weapons systems underwrites a relatively small number of manufactured items, at least when compared to mass production industries like automobiles or steel.

“In addition, such spending is the definition of an economic dead end. If you put taxpayer money into education or infrastructure, you lay the foundations for further growth. If you spend money on an F-35 fighter plane, you get… well, an overpriced F-35. …

“If Trump really wants to create jobs for his base, he should obviously pursue infrastructure investment rather than dumping vast sums into weapons the country doesn’t actually need at prices it can’t afford.

“At present, with its proposals for steep military spending increases and deep tax cuts, Trump’s budget plan looks like Reaganomics on steroids. A Democratic Congress and citizens’ movements like the nuclear freeze campaign managed to blunt Reagan’s most extreme policy proposals. The next few years will determine what happens with Mr. Trump’s own exercise in fantasy budgeting.”

Carrier Deal: Using Workers as Hostages?

A CNN headline declares: “Carrier victory bolsters Trump’s economic chops.” An event at the Indianapolis Carrier plant is expected at 2 p.m. ET. See from FAIR: “Corporate Welfare Will Bring Back Jobs vs. Jobs Will Never Come Back.” Bernie Sanders just wrote the piece “Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump.” Also see @BobSegallWTHR, Twitter feed of local Indiana WTHR reporter Bob Segall, who has won awards for covering government fraud.

MORTON MARCUS, mortonjmarcus [at] yahoo.com
Marcus is a retired economist at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. In a statement, Carrier commented that “incentives offered by the state were an important consideration.” Marcus said today: “The Somali pirates would have said the same thing. Firms like Carrier in effect use jobs as a hostage to get a ransom payment from the government.

“It happens all the time. A firm says they’re interested in building a new factory, in expanding. They ask: what can you do for us? So, the local government gives them tax relief, gives them other incentives — building roads, sewers, water system for the firm.

“Governments used to ease the tax burden on their own citizens by taxing firms, but this tax ‘relief’ for firms is being done in the name of jobs. So, a firm leaves a polluting residue, contaminates the water supply, with the locals, decades from now, forced to deal with the consequences.”

TOM LEWANDOWSKI, wpi [at] workersproject.org
Lewandowski is with the Workers’ Project, Inc. in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He said today: “Every politician wants to take credit for things, be a showman — it’s easier than valuing work, workers and workers’ rights. The jobs Carrier has been threatening to move are good jobs and they’re good jobs because the workers bargained for those jobs for years and made them good. We’re actually drowning in jobs — if you want to work lousy hours, for lousy pay and be disrespected.

“We don’t know what’s in this deal. The headlines are great, the details are missing. We don’t know what it means for the 1300 workers at the Carrier Indianapolis plant, or the 700 workers at the Huntington plant.” See: “While Carrier workers in Indy celebrate, Huntington mourns job loss.”

Lewandowski added: “Here in Indiana, Mike Pence made a living attacking workers. But doesn’t matter if it’s a big ‘trade deal’ or a local tax abatement — any kind of economic development involves a government entity and corporation, supposedly working to save jobs. That’s going on all the time. Yet, workers are always excluded from those discussions, at best they’re theatrical props. But if workers aren’t involved in really making the deal, it ends up being more show than go.

“A big part of the problem is that deals like this are all self-reporting — something Donald Trump is familiar with. They can say they’re going to have X number of jobs at such-and-such a wage, but who’s checking? We almost have a Soviet system, where it’s a handshake and a fantasy economy, simply for photo-ops.”

Trump Cabinet: “Party Time for the Corporate Elite”

ROBERT WEISSMAN, RICK CLAYPOOL, rclaypool [at] citizen.org, @Public_Citizen
BART NAYLOR, via Don Owens, dowens [at] citizen.org
“What’s going on with the Trump administration is beyond fixing with ethics policies,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “We are witnessing the wholesale takeover of government by an extremist faction of the corporate class.” He just wrote the piece “What Populism? Trump’s America Is Party Time for the Corporate Elite.”

Naylor is financial policy advocate with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division. He was featured on the news release “Was This Election Goldman vs. Sachs?” about Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary. Bloomberg reports: ““Before joining Trump, Mnuchin rose through the kind of elite institutions the president-elect spent his campaign vilifying. Mnuchin was tapped into Yale’s Skull and Bones secret society, became a Goldman Sachs partner like his father before him, ran a hedge fund, worked with George Soros, funded Hollywood blockbusters and bought a failed bank, IndyMac, with billionaires including John Paulson. They renamed it OneWest, drew protests for foreclosing on U.S. borrowers, and ultimately generated considerable profits, selling the business last year to CIT Group Inc. for $3.4 billion.”

Claypool is research director for Public Citizen’s president’s office. He just wrote the report “Corporate Interests Infest Trump Transition at Federal Agencies,” which states: “As a candidate, President-Elect Donald Trump railed against the “rigged political establishment” and promised to “send the special interests packing.” The federal agency landing teams announced by the President-Elect’s Transition Team, however, suggest the entrenched establishment of corporate interests, Republican insiders and former lobbyists will have significant influence over the incoming administration.

“Out of the 75 landing team members announced by the Trump Transition organization, 70 percent (53 members) have some corporate affiliation. Some are CEOs (Paul Atkins, Willie Gaynor, Tom Leppert, Ray Washburne), some served corporations as lobbying or legal clients (Joel Leftwich, Doug Domenech, Robert Mackichan, Ronald Tenpas), some worked at the Heritage Foundation or other corporate-backed think tanks (Justin Johnson, Jim Carafano, Thomas Pyle, Myron Ebell).” Claypool also wrote the report “Donald Trump, Clean Government Reformer?

Trump’s HHS Nominee Wants to Destroy Medicare

imrs-phpNANCY ALTMAN,  naltman[at]socialsecurityworks.org, via Linda Benesch, lbenesch[at]socialsecurityworks.org, @ssworks
Altman is co-director of Social Security Works. She just wrote the piece “Donald Trump’s New ‘Health’ Secretary Wants to Destroy Medicare,” which states: “Trump ran for President on a promise, repeatedly made, not to cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. He knew very well that this was a huge departure from the position of other Republicans, particularly House Speaker Paul Ryan and his fellow-travelers. Back in March, Trump drew an explicit contrast:

“‘You know, Paul [Ryan] wants to knock out Social Security, knock it down, way down. He wants to knock Medicare way down. I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that.’

“Now that Trump is elected and no longer needs votes, it is clear that he was either lying or has become the puppet of Ryan and the rest of the Republican elite who have always hated Social Security and Medicare. In a sign that Ryan may be calling the shots, Trump has just announced that he is [nominating] Tom Price, one of Ryan’s top lieutenants, [to be his] Health and Human Services secretary.

“Price succeeded Ryan as chair of the House Budget Committee in January of 2016, and immediately put Social Security in his cross hairs. … Indeed, he actually said that ‘nothing has had a greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the federal government’s intrusion into medicine through Medicare’ and ‘we will not rest until we make certain that government-run health care in ended.’ …

“Whether Trump never intended to keep his hands off Medicare or is simply caving to Ryan, the American people need to hold him accountable and demand that he keep his campaign promise. That starts with insisting that Trump revoke his nomination of Price, and if he refuses, demanding the Senate not confirm him. (Moderate Democrat Joe Donnolly has already announced that he will oppose Price. If Democrats stand united, it only takes three Republican Senators to reject the nomination.)

“Like Social Security, Medicare is overwhelmingly popular with Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents. No one voted to destroy Medicare. If that is what Republican politicians want, they should have the courage of their convictions. Don’t act in the dead of night, as they appear to be planning to do. Rather, seek a mandate to destroy Medicare by running on that position in 2018. Romney-Ryan tried that in 2012, and we all know how that turned out.”