So popular vote loser Donald Trump had the following to say Wednesday evening in Iowa about why he stocked his Cabinet with millionaires and billionaires:
“Somebody said why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy? No it’s true. And Wilbur’s [commerce secretary Wilbur Ross] a very rich person in charge of commerce. I said: ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’”
"They're representing the country. They don't want the money. They're representing the country. They had to give up a lot to take these jobs. They gave up a lot."
"This is the president of Goldman Sachs. Smart. Having him represent us, he went from massive paydays to peanuts ... these are people that are great, brilliant business minds and that's what we need, that's what we need to have so the world doesn't take advantage of us anymore."
"And I love all people -- rich or poor -- but in those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person. Does that make sense? Does that make sense? If you insist, I'll do it -- but I like it better this way, right?"
(In the absence of a complete transcript or video of the speech in question, I have culled the quotes above from CNN, Time, and the Guardian. Emphasis added.)
The reaction of the mainstream corporate media has been mostly negative, though few have pointed out that most of the alleged “brilliant business minds” in Trump’s cabinet were born rich or at least affluent: to borrow Molly Ivins’s wonderful phrase, folks like DeVos, Mnuchin, & Ross were born on third base but keep insisting they hit a triple. So how does their wealth reflect positively on them at all?
But the mainstream corporate media has failed to call out the classism explicitly. A quick Google search for Trump and “classism” in the last 24 hours revealed no articles or other content calling out Trump for the obvious classism of his Iowa speech. Of course, such a search is by no means the last word on the subject, but the result is telling, suggesting that the anti-classism message is clearly not yet “mainstream” enough for the corporate media to report on. And this is an example of pure classism, unalloyed with racial, gender, ethnic, or regional connotations. Since raising consciousness and understanding of classism is a big part of KAC’s mission, I’m writing this diary.
Applying the tools of classism analysis outlined in an earlier anti-classism diary, “Blatant Bigotry Abounds at DKos: An Attempt to Awaken Our Community,” we can readily see that the classist nature of Trump’s statement entails at least these points, and probably more:
(1) Assumes that wealth is a sign of intelligence, ability, and good virtue in general, so a “poor person” must by implication be lacking in those qualities.
(2) Assumes that the experiences and perspectives of poor people (whom Trump seems to define as anyone not a millionaire) are worthless to the making of economic policy, despite the fact that there are far more poor people than millionaires. As such, Trump’s statement is not only classist but anti-democracy (as most classist speech implicitly is). The fact is that if working people had a direct voice in economic policymaking, those policies would be greatly enlightened at to how the economy really works for the working class and middle class generally.
I’d love to see more discussion about how make people more aware of classism, especially things we can do here at DKos.