Trump Tries to Extort Oil Industry For Stuff He Would Do Anyway

ClimateElections Donald Trump
Trump Tries to Extort Oil Industry For Stuff He Would Do Anyway

The Washington Post has an exclusive today on a meeting between Donald Trump and a cabal of oil industry executives that took place at Mar-A-Lago in April. The meeting seems to have gone about how you might expect.

The former president and indictment enthusiast demanded the gathering of fossil fuel luminaries turn over $1 billion for his reelection campaign, in exchange for the same stuff he did during his first term in office, only more so.

He promised to end a pause on permitting of new liquified natural gas export terminals, speed up drilling in Alaska, and sell off more leases to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, among other things. These are, in general, things that Trump would do naturally; they would take no adjustment of his overall course of action, like promising to follow the laws of gravity.

In his first term, just by appointing henhouse bulldozers like Scott Pruitt (or, even more on the nose, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson) to run the various relevant agencies, he enacted an all-out assault on the environment that very clearly benefited the fossil fuel industry. By the end of his term, his administration had enacted more than 100 regulatory rollbacks; a second term would be more of the same, through the same sort of automated destructive impulse.

Of course, it’s still worth it to a venal, dirty industry to help Trump back into office, even if he wouldn’t withhold the promised favors without the billion in support. The executives, feeling like victims in spite of record-breaking profits and more oil coming out of the ground today than ever before — per the Post, one exec “complained about how they continued to face burdensome environmental regulations” despite many millions spent on lobbying the Biden administration — will undoubtedly start donating in huge amounts as the campaign ramps up.

Still, it’s jarring to see an explicit demand like this made to a particular industry, even if that’s more or less how things work without the open quid pro quo of it all. The Post reported that the demand “stunned” some of the people in the room, raising the question of how smart one really has to be in order to become an oil executive.

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