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Trump wants to “buy” the presidency: Makes a controversial demand for policy favors during Florida meeting


Florida – The ongoing efforts of Donald Trump to secure financial contributions for his presidential campaign are ongoing as he aims to bridge the fundraising gap with President Joe Biden. Trump’s campaign reportedly raised over $50 million during an event held last month at billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson’s home in Florida. But this sum, although substantial, is nothing compared to the funds the former president “demanded” for his presidential campaign from top oil executives in return for policy favors during a meeting at his Mar-a-Lago club.

Trump’s Proposal to the Oil Industry

Former President Donald Trump has promised top executives from oil and gas conglomerates a major rollback of President Joe Biden’s climate protections if they fund his presidential campaign with $1 billion, as reported by Politico and The Washington Post.

During this exclusive gathering with some of the most influential figures in the U.S. oil industry, Trump outlined his intention to dismantle numerous environmental rules established by the Biden administration.

His offer to the oil magnates was clear: contribute $1 billion to his campaign, and in return, enjoy the absence of what he deems burdensome taxes and regulations. “Giving $1 billion would be a ‘deal,’” Trump argued, citing the significant financial benefits the industry would reap under his administration.

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According to Politico, the oil industry is not merely waiting for Trump’s potential re-election but is actively preparing executive orders for him to sign that would boost natural gas exports, reduce drilling costs, and increase offshore oil leases. This readiness stems from concerns that Trump might not focus sufficiently on energy policies as the election approaches and might lack the skilled personnel to effectively reverse Biden’s environmental policies.

The Stakes for Environmental Regulations

Trump’s discussions at the dinner did not shy away from controversy, particularly with his stance on electric vehicles. He mischaracterized the EPA’s new rules, which aim to reduce emissions from cars, as a “mandate” on electric vehicles, calling them “ridiculous.” Trump’s promise was straightforward: those awaiting permits for five years would have them granted on the first day of his return to the presidency.

Widespread Reactions

The promise of swift deregulation in favor of the oil industry has elicited strong reactions from various sectors. Environmental groups and political commentators have condemned Trump’s offer as a blatant instance of corruption and a stark example of the problematic intertwining of campaign finance and policy-making.

Alex Witt from Climate Power highlighted the transactional nature of Trump’s proposition, noting that the oil industry had already seen significant returns during Trump’s first term and that a second term could be even more lucrative for them. Meanwhile, environmental advocates and political analysts have described Trump’s actions as an outright sale of presidential power, posing a direct threat to global climate policies.

Matthew Davis, from the League of Conservation Voters, pointed out that while it is common for external groups to propose policies to incoming administrations, having an industry draft precise executive order language for a president to sign is exceptionally irregular and troubling.

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Biden’s Contrast and the Call for Reform

In stark contrast, the Biden campaign has emphasized its commitment to combating climate change, with spokesperson James Singer criticizing Trump for compromising both American values and the planet’s future for the sake of appeasing big oil companies.

The reports from Politico and The Washington Post have sparked a broader discussion on the need for campaign finance reform, with many calling for measures to prevent such blatant exchanges of money for policy favors.

“Just straight up, undisguised corruption,” Aaron Fritschner, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), commented.

Political commentator and former Obama spokesperson Tommy Vietor posted on X “one of the most overtly corrupt fundraising pitches I have ever heard and underscores the stakes in this election.”

“Quid pro quo. Pay to play. Bribery. You decide the label, the result is the same. Trump is selling the White House to the highest bidders, in this case it’s oil CEOs,” said strategist and communications director Josh Schwerin, who has worked for Democrats and Democratic groups.

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As the election approaches, these revelations underscore the significant differences in climate policy between Trump and Biden, with far-reaching implications for environmental regulation, international climate agreements, and the overall direction of U.S. energy policy. Critics, including strategists and environmentalists, argue that a second Trump term could severely hinder global efforts against climate change, highlighting the urgency of the electoral stakes involved.

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