Last Night at Trump’s Hotel

Last night, Public Citizen and our allies gathered outside the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., to protest his $35,000-a-plate fundraiser.

Ninety-nine million Americans make less than $35,000 that every year.

The price to be listed on the event’s host committee was $100,000 — more than the household income of 227 million Americans.

The event raised more than $10 million for the cause of re-electing Trump.

That’s right: Trump is already raising funds to build his 2020 campaign war chest, and he’s raising the funds by partying with the Gilded Class – millionaires and billionaires, corporate lobbyists and corporate executives – at a hotel where he profits personally from any payments.

The building, by the way, is leased from the federal government by Trump’s business.

We marched and chanted.

We witnessed representatives of the Gilded Class strut into the hotel.

We saw Donald Trump drive by.

And we heard heart-wrenching stories of families that rely on Medicaid for lifesaving health care.

The press was forbidden from entering. According to leaked accounts, Trump marked the occasion by griping about the news media.

It’s hard to imagine a starker and more meaningful contrast.

Here’s some of what I said at last night’s rally:

“Americans have a right to expect the president to focus on serving their interests rather than devising schemes to pocket money from his campaigning and running a long-form product placement advertisement.

“Tonight’s fundraiser is pay-to-play politics, pure and simple. The attendees, giving so early in the president’s term, at a hotel with his name emblazoned in front, aren’t there just for the food. They expect — and will obtain — access and favors in return. Many already have.

“This gaudy and garish showcase of Gilded Age wealth, against the backdrop of the Trump-McConnell cruel and senseless effort to throw more than 20 million Americans off of health care and cut taxes on corporations and the superrich by hundreds of billions of dollars, would have made the old Robber Barons blush.”

What we saw last night was an offense to the most basic notions of decency.

We have to fight back.

Not just to make a moral statement, but to make a difference.