Donald Trump, a shifty real estate and casino mogul who is in some way connected to the New York mob, was mostly unknown outside of New York City until 2004. That’s when Trump started his television career, a show called “The Apprentice.” That’s how, the New York Times says, “Jeff Zucker helped create Donald Trump.” At that time, Zucker was the head of NBC. Now he is the head of CNN.
Trump is a made-for-TV politician. On his own before the TV show, he wasn’t doing too well. His real estate operations were mostly losing money, his new buildings were badly designed and engineered, and his casinos went bankrupt.
So what does Trump have now? He has the backing of some of the biggest oil billionaires, owners of the U.S. oil monopolies.
When Trump took the presidency in 2016, his way was paved by Charles and David Koch, oil billionaires notorious for their promotion of right-wing extremism. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo comes from Koch Industries.
And then there’s Richard Kinder of Kinder Morgan, with its oil and gas pipelines and coal mining operations. And the Duncan family of Enterprise Products Partners, another oil and gas pipeline operation. Trump appointed their lawyer, William J. Emanuel, to the National Labor Relations Board with the aim of suppressing all union activity. And the biggest fracking tycoon, Harold Hamm, Trump’s “informal” energy adviser. The list goes on. Trump hasn’t lost any of that support.
Additional support comes from the Rockefellers, the Bush family and the H.L. Hunt oil billions. Trump’s previous secretary of state was Rex Tillerson, who had been CEO of the Rockefellers’ ExxonMobile.
Trump’s secretary of commerce, Wilbur Ross, is a gas and coal billionaire who had previously backed Rudolph Giuliani for mayor of New York City in possibly the most racist and corrupt administration the city had ever seen, where the police commissioner was a crook openly taking bribes from organized crime. Giuliani combined economic austerity with police repression.
David Bernhardt, Trump’s secretary of the interior, was a lobbyist for Noble Energy, which Chevron just acquired. Chevron is one of the successors of John D. Rockefeller’s original Standard Oil Company.
Trump’s United Nations ambassador is Kelly Craft, married to the billionaire coal baron Joseph Craft.
Trump’s first gift to fracking — DAPL
When Trump declared victory in the 2016 election, Continental Resources — the company founded and led by Harold Hamm, Trump’s “energy adviser” — announced that oil it obtains via fracking from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin would be transported through the Dakota Access pipeline.
The Dakota Access pipeline was strongly opposed by the Standing Rock Sioux, who declared that “the Dakota Access Pipeline poses a serious risk to the very survival of our Tribe and … would destroy valuable cultural resources.” A battle against the pipeline was waged for months involving tens of thousands of supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux and drawing in members of more than 300 federally recognized Native tribes in the U.S. The Obama administration stepped in to put a temporary halt on the pipeline, pending further review by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Four days after Trump took office in 2017, he signed an executive memorandum overturning Obama’s decision and directing the Army Corps “to review and approve in an expedited manner” the pipeline. By June of 2017, oil began flowing through the pipeline.
Giving oil billionaires what they want
“Former Secretary of State James Baker considered voting for Joe Biden in November but will instead keep backing Donald Trump, a new biography reveals, in the process outlining a key reason for continued Republican support for the scandal-plagued U.S. president,” the Guardian reports.
Though the “myriad ethical scandals surrounding Trump were head-spinning,” Baker told the authors, “it was worth it to get conservative judges, tax cuts and deregulation.”
Yes, Trump is giving them exactly what they want.
James Baker is a senior member of the Rockefeller-controlled Council on Foreign Relations, together with Henry Kissinger. At the council, Baker’s credentials are listed as 61st Secretary of State of the United States under George H. W. Bush, and 67th Secretary of the Treasury of the United States under Ronald Reagan, 10th and 16th White House Chief of Staff to Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
In addition, Wikipedia says, Baker was the chief legal adviser for George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential election campaign and oversaw the Florida recount. Even if adviser means attack dog, this doesn’t begin to reveal what Baker did to suppress the Black vote in Florida and steal the presidency for Bush. (For example, see Jeffrey Toobin’s “The Legal Fight Awaiting Us After the Election,” New Yorker, Sept. 21)
The gang of lawyers working with Baker in Florida included John G. Roberts Jr., whom Bush appointed to the Supreme Court, and Noel Francisco, who became President Trump’s solicitor general. All lined up there, ready to do it again, if needed.
Capitalism is in crisis, particularly the oil industry. “I’m just living a nightmare,” headlined the New York Times. The subhead read: “Oil industry braces for devastation across the United States, companies are laying off workers, shutting down wells and preparing for a prolonged slump as oil prices tumble.” That was in April, and while the prices are no longer tumbling, the slump continues.
Imperialist capitalism is made up of numerous monopolies. The term “finance capital” usually refers to the merging of the banks and industrialists, or as Lenin wrote in his study of imperialism, “finance capital is the bank capital of a few very big monopolist banks, merged with the capital of the monopolist associations of industrialists.” But key among them, especially now, are the oil monopolists, who are playing a dominant role in politics, who think they have bought the presidency and own it. They created the Trump presidency and intend to keep it going.