When Donald Trump moved into the White House in January, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka hoped that labor leaders like himself could find common ground with the new president. Seven months later, Trumka says there is little hope left.
“I think a significant amount of the optimism has faded away, because we haven’t seen an infrastructure bill, we haven’t seen the renewal of manufacturing, we haven’t seen the things that we were hopeful about that we could work with him on,” Trumka said Aug. 30 at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
“After the election, they reached out and we reached out. We talked. What I said to them is that we will judge you by what you do. If you do things good for working people, we will support them. If you do things bad for working people, we will oppose you.”
Trumka said the White House has done little that his union federation would approve of so far.
“You had two factions in the White House. You had one that actually had some of the policies that we would have supported on trade, on infrastructure, but [they] turned out to be racist,” Trumka said.
“On the other hand, you had people who weren’t racist, but they were Wall Streeters,” Trumka said. “And the Wall Streeters have come to dominate the Administration, and moved his agenda back to everything that I think they fought against in the election.”
[MORE: Watch AFL-CIO President Trumka’s full presentation on the future of the labor movement, relations with Trump, and NAFTA renegotiations here.]