Despite felony verdicts, Billionaire class rallies behind Trump
Donald Trump arriving at Florida fund raiser with billionaires backing him for president. Despite felony verdicts, Billionaire class rallies behind Trump. AP

NEW YORK—Forget Donald Trump’s 34 felony convictions. Forget his coming court cases revolving around his attempted coup d’etat against his own government and the Trumpite insurrection at the U.S. Capitol three years ago. Forget his plans to be a dictator. The billionaire class is rallying behind Donald Trump.

And with one of the biggest of the billionaires, Elon Musk, owner of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter—which he renamed as X—in the lead.

That’s the big campaign development over the last month that has been largely hidden from public view as Trump was tried and convicted in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan for paying hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels—as well as to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal—to shut them up about his past sexual affairs with them.

Instead, focus on Trump’s $50 million fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago mansion with big givers, his quid pro quo with oil company barons where he promised them complete freedom from governmental controls in return for a billion bucks in campaign cash. With follow-up fundraisers on the horizon.

And follow-up deals behind closed doors, too, Yahoo News reports.

“On several occasions, Trump has asked for checks of $25 million or $50 million—and tested the bounds of campaign finance laws by tying the requests to promises of tax cuts and favorable business policies,” its article said a week ago.

And, of course, there is Trump’s now-notorious statement to a Fox “News” shill that he’d be “a dictator on Day 1” if he wins the November election. Nobody, including devoted Trumpites or his foe, incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden, believes he’d stop after that.

Indeed, Trump’s Project 2025 espouses the controversial “unitary theory” of the presidency, which, bluntly, says the president can do whatever he wants—and nobody, not Congress, not the courts, not the people—can stop him.

None of this worries the billionaires who stand to benefit from all of it.

The Wall Street Journal reports Elon Musk, one of the nation’s three wealthiest people, talks with Trump “several times a month,” giving Musk the chance for personal lobbying by the top of the billionaire class. That’s important because most of the few features that benefit the middle class in the 2017 Trump-GOP $2 trillion tax cut for corporations and the rich expire next year.

The billionaires won’t mind that, as long as their lion’s share gets preserved. When it comes to the Constitution and the specifics of Trump’s Project 2025, conceived for him by the radical right Heritage Foundation, they’re completely silent.

Trump and Musk “have developed a closer relationship” the Journal reported. They share views on immigration (against), diversity, equity, and inclusiveness (against), Trump’s allegations of voter fraud (for), and Musk’s portfolio of companies. That includes Twitter.

“There is either a red wave this November or America is doomed,” Musk wrote on Twitter two months ago. He’s pushing the cause by hosting fundraising dinner parties for Trump.

There is no evidence of voter fraud, says Trump’s last Senate-confirmed Attorney General, veteran conservative Bill Barr—who himself lied about former FBI chief Bill Mueller’s findings before the first Trump impeachment. When Barr said “there’s no fraud” to Trump, Trump fired him.

Close to Trump

Musk is one of the top billionaires close to Trump, but not the only one. The Financial Times reported hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman plans to endorse Trump. Ackman, too, hates diversity-equity-inclusion policies and rails against anti-Semitism on college campuses.

Driving the news: Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman, who has crusaded against DEI policies and antisemitism on college campuses, is likely to endorse Trump as well, the Financial Times reported last week. Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman told Axios he would support and donate to Trump.

Which brings us back to Project 2025. The Constitution isn’t its sole target. Try manipulating the entire government in Trump’s favor—and against the rest of us—by invoking the “unitary executive” theory, the idea the president can do whatever he wants and nobody can stop him.

Discrimination against LGBT people would return. Affirmative action would end.

That includes abolishing efforts to combat climate change, while, as Trump said in Milwaukee, embracing “Drill, baby, drill.” It includes turning independent agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board, into presidential tools. It mandates governmental “basic research only be funded if it suits conservative principles,” Wikipedia reports.

Abortion would be completely outlawed, and Affordable Care Act coverage of emergency contraception would end. And it “would infuse the government with elements of Christianity,” Wikipedia adds. Right-wing Christianity, though it did not say so.

And, in the most chilling prospect of all, Project 2025 follows the lead of discredited top Trump advisor Michael Flynn, a retired general whom prior presidents warned Trump about, to “immediately deploy the military for domestic law enforcement and to direct the Justice Department to pursue Trump’s adversaries by invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807.”

The Zinn Education Project, named for the progressive historian Howard Zinn, recalls other instances where presidents used that law to send in troops against civilians.

“In the 19th century, it was called upon when the United States wanted to suppress American Indian sovereignty. It gave Abraham Lincoln powers to send federal troops into Southern states.

“With a few exceptions, the law has historically been used to make a federal military response to labor disputes or anti-racism protests,” the project continues. Ike and JFK invoked the Insurrection Act against white supremacists, and President Ulysses Grant used it three times against the Klan.

And Grover Cleveland, overriding Illinois Democratic Gov. John Peter Altgeld, used it to send in troops to break the Pullman Strike.

That’s the law Trump would use against civilians and that’s the law the billionaires are turning a blind eye to.


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.