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Richard Trumka, the head of the largest federation of unions in the US, had harsh words on Wednesday for the members of the Trump administration.
Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, told an audience at a Christian Science Monitor event that it was difficult for him to work with either of the two major factions in the White House.
Here are Trumka’s remarks, via NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald:
“You had two factions in the White House. You had one faction that actually had some of the policies that we would have supported on trade, on infrastructure – but they turned out to be racist. And on the other hand, you had people that weren’t racist, but they were Wall Streeters. And the Wall Streeters began to dominate the administration and have moved his agenda back to everything he fought against in the election.”
Trumka, once a member of President Donald Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, left in the wake of Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. The council aimed to increase manufacturing employment in the US.
The first faction Trumka mentioned refers to the side of the White House that favors more-protectionist trade policies, exemplified by Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist. These policies fall more in line with the populist, more nationalist message of Trump’s campaign aimed at protecting manufacturing jobs and increasing wages.
On the other hand, many members of Trump’s administration, like Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, favor more-open trade policies, which have been found to increase overall wealth but weigh on the US middle class, particularly in manufacturing.
Trumka was staunchly critical of Trump after his response to the deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, saying the AFL-CIO could not be a part of a council for a president who “tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism.”