NEW YORK CITY — There has been a consistent and insistent protest all over the country against President Trump’s nominees for posts in his cabinet, described by many as a “corporate cabinet” or a “billionaires-packed cabinet.”
In New York, many of the protests and rallies have been directed to Democratic Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer, largely because Schumer is the influential Senate Minority Leader. (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is the only senator to vote no on every nominee so far, except for Nikki Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations.)
The protests in New York against Trump’s nominees started on Tuesdays in early January, organized by the Working Families Party, Citizens Action of New York, and People’s Action. The protests are called Resist Trump Tuesday, when protests erupt at many cities across the country. Each Tuesday here several hundred people have gathered at noon in front of the office of Sen. Schumer. They shout anti-Trump slogans, such as “No wall, no ban,” and “Refugees are welcome here, no hate, no fear.”
The protesters included people carrying signs promoting women’s pro-choice and pro-immigrant statements, and others.
Scores of people brought letters addressed to Schumer, urging them to vote “no” on Trump’s nominees and to oppose Trump’s policies. On January 31, a staff person from Schumer’s office came outside to take the letters and hand out a press release from Schumer, stating that Trump “has stomped over our proud American tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees, trafficked in alternative facts, and is attempting to fill his cabinet with billionaires and bankers.” He promised to vote “no” on Betsy DeVos, (the Trump nominee for Education Secretary who has subsequently been confirmed) and against Tillerson, Sessions Mulvaney, Price, Mnuchin, Pruitt, and Puzder.
Schumer has been feeling the heat. He has a reputation of not doing anything to hurt or restrain Wall Street. Although he has been outspoken against Trump and has endorsed Keith Ellison (a Bernie Sanders supporter) for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Schumer still voted for three of the Trump nominees. Those included “Mad dog” Marine Corps General James Mattis for Defense Secretary, another Marine General John Kelly for Homeland Security Secretary, who has already been fired, and pro-torture Mike Pompeo for CIA Director. After the January 31 rally in front of Schumer’s offices, a few thousand angry protesters appeared at Schumer’s home that evening in Brooklyn. The protesters tried to deliver protein bars and weights to Schumer, so he could “regain his strength.”
Some Democratic senators have been on the fence in trying to block Trump’s proposed cabinet. However, grassroots pressure on the wavering Democrats has been effective, both in New York and around the country. For example, Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse voted for Pompeo. After this vote, he appeared at a Town Hall, overflowing with angry protesters. He immediately promised to vote against almost all of Trump’s remaining nominees.
On February 7, a few hours after the tied 50-50 vote in the Senate for Betsy DeVos, at which point Vice-President Michael Pence voted to break the tie, confirming her for Education Secretary, the Resist Trump Tuesdays in Manhattan continued with a protest of several hundred people gathered in front of JP Morgan Chase Bank in the heart of the Financial District. They chanted, “Hit the road, bank, and don’t cha come back, no more, no more, no more. . .,” alternating with “Hit the road, Trump, and don’t cha come back, etc.” Referring to Trump’s immigrant ban, they chanted, “Nothing gets done ‘til the ban is on the run,” and more.
From there, the crowd marched and stopped in front of Goldman Sachs, or “Government Sachs,” as many of the signs carried by the protesters said. “Government Sachs” is quite appropriate, because Trump’s Treasury Secretary is Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner, and chair of Trump’s National Economic Council is Gary Cohn, former president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs. Cohn had a $21 million salary with Goldman and is now the number two top executive at Goldman until he was appointed by Trump, getting a $285 million “golden parachute” from Goldman to leave and work for Trump. Trump is also appointing four other present or former Goldman executives. The white supremacist Steve Bannon is also a Goldman Sachs alumni.