WASHINGTON — Even resisters can have a little fun.
How else to explain the mock Valentine’s Day “wedding” between a giant Donald Trump puppet and the Wall Street Swamp Dragon—a green-skinned spotted lizard that looked like the Creature from the Black Lagoon?
The point of the ceremony, held on the dark U.S. Capitol grounds with the building’s brilliantly lit dome as a backdrop, was to underline how Trump, who promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, instead embraced the very lobbyists and financiers he scorned and slammed on the campaign trail—and, specifically the influential investment firm of Goldman Sachs.
And, in the process, Trump broke his promises to U.S. voters, and lied to them, too, speakers said.
Organized by Wall Street Takeover and #ResistTrumpTuesdays, the D.C. protest drew approximately 100 people, many of them from the Communications Workers headquarters several blocks away. The union’s Legislative Director, Shane Larson, served as emcee before giving way to a young woman for the actual “ceremony.” Another unionist, AFT’s Civil and Human Rights Vice President Connie Cordovilla, said flyers and e-mails went around union headquarters buildings the week before.
The D.C. protest was the second such campaign highlighting Trump’s ties to Wall Street, his plans to dismantle financial protections put in place after the financier-caused Great Recession, and his Cabinet of billionaires, led by “the foreclosure king,” Steve Mnuchin, now Trump’s Treasury Secretary.
A prior protest in Wall Street itself the week before drew hundreds, if not thousands.
The D.C. protesters, and three lawmakers who addressed them, had a serious point. Not only does Trump have an unholy alliance with Wall Street, but he’s also backing the financial firms’ drive to dismantle protections for investors and workers, instituted after the crash.
“Since Day One, has Donald Trump been attacking special interests?” Larson asked. “No!” the crowd roared back. “Who has he been attacking?” “Us!” the group responded. “And what’s next? To repeal Dodd-Frank”—the law that curbs the financiers—“and its centerpiece, the Consumer Financial Protection Board. That was passed to rein in corporate greed.”
“Their greed and reckless behavior destroyed the economy,” added Sen. Bernie Sanders, D.-Vt.
“He [Trump] said Wall Street is getting away with murder and that ‘I’m going to drain the swamp.’ This is a strange way to drain the swamp: bringing the people who created the swamp into your Cabinet.” Senator Sherrod Brown, D.-Ohio, called it “the richest Cabinet ever.”
The protesters, as well as the speakers, vowed resistance to the entire Trump program, and particularly his schemes to free Wall Street of federal regulation. “Our job is to break up these big financial institutions, bring back Glass-Steagall”—the old Depression-era law that split commercial banking from financial speculation—“and create a government that meets the needs of working Americans,” Sanders declared.
“What are we going to do?” Representative Maxine Waters, D.-Calif., asked the crowd. “Impeach. Resist. Reject. Reject every single aspect of this administration, including his (Trump’s) racism, his fascism and his xenophobia.”
As for the wedding itself … well, it didn’t come off. After Trump and the Swamp Monster said their “I do’s” to vows that pledged them to elevate the rich while trashing workers, minorities, women and others, the female pastor added the standard line: “If anyone objects, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”
She was met with such a chorus of boos, hoots and jeers that she finally declared the marriage invalid.