When reporters asked Republican primary voters why they planned to vote for Donald Trump, one of the most common replies was that the billionaire couldn’t “be bought.” Liberals and conservatives may disagree about exactly which special interests control the American government (at times, Trump has suggested that Syrian refugees have their own K Street lobbyists), but both sides are concerned about the donor class’s influence over policy.
But, as with so many other aspects of Trump’s appeal, the idea that his wealth will insulate his administration from the temptations of cronyism is a transparent con. Many populist politicians are opposed to the revolving door between the public and private sectors, which threatens the independence of regulators. And Trump is no exception — except, instead of locking the revolving door, he’d like to take a sledge hammer to it.
In a new audio recording obtained by Reuters, Chris Christie tells dozens of Republican donors that Trump plans to “let businesspeople serve in government part time without having to give up their jobs in the private sector.” In Trump’s America, progressives won’t have to worry about former banking executives regulating their old colleagues — active CEOs will be doing that for their current ones.
In the recording, Christie also says Trump hopes to purge the civil service of Obama appointees.
“One of the things I have suggested to Donald is that we have to immediately ask the Republican Congress to change the civil service laws. Because if they do, it will make it a lot easier to fire those people,” Christie says.
This would ostensibly allow the Republican president to cleanse the federal bureaucracy of liberals, and staff agencies that conservatives don’t like with cronies willing to sit on their hands.
At another point in the recording, Christie tells the donors that neutralizing the Environmental Protection Agency and its job-killing regulations would be “a top priority for Trump should he win in November.”