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Maddow Blog | Trump pitches a highly questionable $1 billion deal to Big Oil executives

Two months later Donald TrumpAfter the presidency, the oil industry had reason to be happy with Republican control in Washington; the former CEO of DC ExxonMobil had just been appointed Secretary of State; Republicans in Congress agreed to make it easier for oil giants to hide payments to foreign governments; and the new Republican administration was already taking steps to roll back a variety of environmental safeguards.

It was against this backdrop that the White House issued a press statement touting ExxonMobil’s decision to expand investments in several Gulf Coast projects. As Mother Jones discovered, part of the statement contained language that was essentially identical to the language in Exxon’s own press release — keeping Team Trump and the oil company on the same page in a quite literal sense.

Seven years later, the problem is spreading: Politico reported this week that oil industry executives are now writing presidential executive orders, hoping that Trump will simply sign them if/when he returns to the White House.

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Matthew Davis, vice president of federal policy at the League of Conservation Voters and a former EPA scientist, told Politico that an industry writing exact language for an incoming president to sign is “out of bounds,” adding: “It’s not shocking, but perhaps a bit bold and rude that the oil industry is writing text for executive orders.”

Coincidentally, that’s not the only “crude” connection between Team Trump and Big Oil. The Washington Post also reported on a recent meeting at Mar-a-Lago, where the former president sat with some of the country’s top oil executives, who complained about “burdensome” environmental protections.

According to the Post’s reporting, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, the presumptive GOP nominee told oil executives that if they raised $1 billion to return him to power, it would be a good “deal.” for the industry. because they would ultimately make more profits thanks to Trump’s tax and regulatory policies.

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To be fair, the former president wasn’t talking about actual bribery, but the Republican’s message wasn’t exactly subtle: Big Oil is raising a billion dollars to elect Trump, and Trump will in turn eliminate environmental protections and give industry tax breaks.

This is, of course, the same Republican who also took the unusual step of claiming more than once that he steps taken to increase purposefully gas prices to help the oil industry’s profits.

President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign responded to the reporting with a statement that read in part: “This is Trump’s corrupt MAGA agenda in a nutshell: Trump is acting as a puppet for his biggest donors – giving them tax breaks and favorable policies while working families be ruined.”

I keep in mind that the definition of the word “populist” can sometimes be amorphous, but the next time someone uses it to describe Trump, remind them of this story. An oil billionaire hosted a meeting at the former president’s glorified country club, where Trump made a brazen transactional pitch to oil executives, whom he expects will help put him in the Oval Office, at which point he will abandon their anti-environmental dreams will fulfill.

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He is not a “man of the people,” unless the “people” in question are wealthy Big Oil elites.

This message updates our related previous reporting.

This article was originally published on MSNBC.com

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