As Joe Biden prepares to take office, concerns over the presence of corporate insiders in his administration are not only coming earnestly from progressives, but also opportunistically from right-wing politicians and media figures.
We believe these cynical efforts by right-wingers (who, over the last four years, have unwaveringly defended the most corrupt president in American history) could have dangerous consequences if ignored. Recent polling shows that revolving door concerns resonate across the political spectrum: majorities of voters across party lines support keeping corporate insiders out of the next administration. Donald Trump successfully exploited voters’ frustrations with the revolving door in 2016, eking out a surprise victory by pledging to “drain the swamp” (spoiler alert: he didn’t).
These efforts also highlight the political importance of addressing institutionalized corruption. To prevent future Trumps, Democrats can’t just rely on calling Republicans hypocrites (a charge that, although accurate, won’t stop “Trumpian outsiders” from exploiting voters’ concerns about political corruption). They must close the door on industry insiders before another faux-populist can ride the winds of public outrage to victory. Closing the revolving door isn’t just good policy — it’s also smart politics.
We’ve compiled some examples of the right-wing revolving door arguments against Biden below:
ARGUMENT: Biden’s personnel picks illustrate how Democrats serve the interests of multinational corporate giants rather than the working class.
- DAILY CALLER: Blinken And Flournoy’s Consultancy Shows Influence Of Big Tech In Biden Administration. “Several other Biden picks have drawn criticism for their lobbying and corporate connections. Biden’s Secretary of State pick Antony Blinken and expected defense secretary nominee Michèle Flournoy have ties to consulting and investment firms, according to the New York Times. […] Flournoy, a co-founder of WestExec, told The Intercept in 2018, the firm was made up of “people recently coming out of government” who would could “help tech firms who are trying to figure out how to sell in the public sector space, to navigate the DOD, the intel community, law enforcement.” [Daily Caller, 12/2/20]
- LAURA INGRAHAM: Biden Represents Big Corporations Like Apple, Not The Working Guy. “The big multinational corporations overwhelmingly supported Joe Biden, yet they’re trying to claim the mantle of ‘we’re for the working guy.’ […] Apple, 92% of their employees gave to Biden. […] This isn’t the little people, these are the big boys. […] What’s most shocking is how these corporations are just salivating over Biden.” [Ingraham Angle, 12/1/20]
- BREITBART: Wall Street Assumes Command of Joe Biden Transition Team. “Wall Street and the biggest U.S. banks, after spending a fortune to unseat President Trump, are getting key spots in Democrat Joe Biden’s transition team that he has devised before the presidential election is certified. Detailed by the New York Times, Biden’s list of transition team members includes former Wall Street employees and those with close ties to Wall Street. Many of the big banks with links to Biden transition team members were major donors to the former vice president.” [Breitbart, 11/11/20]
- TUCKER CARLSON: Biden’s Corporate Transition Team Means Democrats No Longer Represent Workers. “The modern Democratic Party no longer represents wage earners. It is now funded almost exclusively by Silicon Valley and the finance establishment, the billionaire class. Its foot soldiers don’t work in factories. […] Who’s on [Biden’s agency review] teams? Well, there’s Tom Sullivan, who’s the international tax director at Amazon. Clare Gallagher runs global partnerships and strategic planning for Airbnb. Brandon Belford is a senior director at Lyft, and there’s Matt Olsen from Uber. Other members come from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. These are the people giving guidance to, among others, Joe Biden’s new chief of staff, who himself led Silicon Valley’s lobbying efforts for years. So the billionaires have full representation and they may soon have a lot more.” [Tucker Carlson, 12/5/20]
ARGUMENT: Biden’s appointment of former lobbyists and individuals with ethics conflicts to his administration indicate the return of the “swamp” that Trump was draining.
- BREITBART: Biden Wants Washington Swamp Monster Steve Ricchetti Back At The White House. “Throughout his Washington career, Riccetti had his own “revolving door” from the lobbying world to political power. In the late 1980s, he began as a lobbyist for Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance before moving to lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. […] After Bill Clinton left office, Ricchetti started another lobbying firm with his brother, putting him in a prime position to begin raising money for former first lady Hillary Clinton’s inaugural presidential run in 2008. The Ricchetti firm’s client list included well-known companies such as General Motors, the American Hospital Association, AT&T, Eli Lilly, Nextel, Novartis, Pfizer, and even Fannie Mae in the years prior to the financial crisis. […] Ricchetti’s return to the White House demonstrates that decades of establishment power and influence within the administration will survive.” [Breitbart, 11/17/20]
- FOX NEWS: Biden Agricultural Secretary Pick Made $1M A Year Off Struggling Farmers. “President-elect Joe Biden plucked Tom Vilsack to serve as agricultural secretary, a former Iowa governor who filled the role under President Obama. […] Vilsack spent the last four years as a dairy industry lobbyist with the trade group U.S. Dairy Export Council. There, he earned $1 million in salary in 2018 as the highest paid executive at Dairy Management Inc., a nonprofit responsible for promoting milk goods and funded directly by mandatory fees from dairy farmers. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel earlier this year exposed the bloated salaries of the top 10 dairy executives that topped $8 million at a time when many dairy farmers are on the brink of financial ruin amid a downturn in milk prices.” [Fox News, 12/10/20]
- BREITBART: Biden Is Stacking His Transition With Lobbyists. “Democrat Joe Biden has stacked his transition team, after the establishment media called the presidential election for him, with at least 40 lobbyists, according to the latest estimate. Now, acting as president-elect though the election has not been certified, Biden has given waivers to at least five registered lobbyists to join his transition team and another at least 35 former lobbyists have joined, according to the Wall Street Journal […] Biden’s transition team is shaping up to be a typical Washington, D.C., beltway-style effort with not only lobbyists on board, but Big Tech corporations, and Wall Street — which both served as major donors to his campaign. Former employees with Visa, KeyBank, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, LinkedIn, Amazon, Lyft, Airbnb, Google, Twitter, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have all been appointed to positions on Biden’s transition team.” [Breitbart, 11/12/20]
ARGUMENT: Biden Cabinet picks like Tony Blinken will sell America out to China and prove that Democrats are the “party of endless war.”
- JOSH HAWLEY: Tony Blinken Is A War Enthusiast. “Tony Blinken, you mentioned him, here’s a guy who hasn’t met a war that he doesn’t love. This is the kind of war-forever, America-last policy that voters have rejected over and over again.” [Ingraham Angle, 12/2/20]
- CAPITAL RESEARCH CENTER: Biden Serves The Military Industrial Complex. “Besides high finance and the corporate world, the military-industrial complex seems to have wanted Biden, too. […] Raytheon Technologies CEO Gregory Hayes called predictions that Biden would cut defense spending “ridiculous,” arguing that Biden displayed a “pretty good approach to national defense” during his time as vice president and senator. Raytheon played a major role in the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led intervention in Yemen that began in March 2015, creating weapons and bombs and ensuring that the U.S. government would buy them by having its contacts among former State Department officials convince their colleagues to approve of the sales, thereby bypassing lobbying disclosures. More than a third of the people on Biden’s Department of Defense agency review team are involved with the weapons industry either directly or indirectly through think tanks and organizations funded by weapon manufacturers.” [Capital Research Center, 12/8/20]
- LAURA INGRAHAM: Tony Blinken Cultivated Close Ties To China Through Consultancy Work. “The firm Blinken co-founded with Biden’s potential Defense Secretary pick Michele Flournoy — the company’s summaries of successful work include projects that appear to help clients deal with Beijing while not drawing ire from U.S. national security authorities. I have to also note that Blinken served as a managing director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Biden Center, and during that time apparently, anonymous Chinese donors gave the Biden Center $22 million over two years. Is there any question why China is giddy over this?” [Ingraham Angle, 12/2/20]
We hope you found this information useful. Let us know if you have noticed any of these cynical arguments or others that we’ve missed.