Union Leader: White House Is Divided Between ‘Racists’ And ‘Wall Streeters’

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

Richard Trumka, the president of the nation’s largest labor union, the AFL-CIO, told reporters Wednesday morning that he has no regrets about quitting the Trump administration’s manufacturing committee in the wake of the president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, and blasted the White House as a combination of people who are “racist” and “Wall Streeters.”

“You had two factions in the White House,” he said. “You had one faction who actually aligned with the policies that we would have supported on trade and infrastructure, but they turned out to be racist. On the other hand, you had people who weren’t racist, but they were Wall Streeters. The Wall Streeters began to dominate the administration and have moved his agenda back to everything he fought against in the election.”

Though he didn’t name names, Trumka’s categorization aligns with others who have described the White House as a battle between “nationalists” like the now-ousted Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller and “globalists” like Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Economic Council chair Gary Cohn.

Asked with which faction Trump himself belongs to, Trumka quipped: “On which day?” He later added that the president has not demonstrated that he has a “strong agenda he actually believes in.”

Trumka said he was willing to work with the President Trump on policies that could benefit workers, but Trump’s “spirited defense of white nationalists and neo-Nazis” after Charlottesville was the final straw.


Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.