Fact Check: No, Trump’s ‘Opening the Country’ Council is Not Just ‘Donors and Supporters’

Paul-Singer-640x480-Reuters
REUTERS

CLAIM: President Donald Trump’s “opening the country” council includes “donors and supporters.”

VERDICT: MISLEADING. It also includes many opponents — not just Democrats, but also Republicans who opposed him bitterly in the past.

ABC News reported Friday: “President Trump’s ‘opening the country’ council features several political donors and supporters.” It counted 25 “friends, supporters, and political donors.”

What the report failed to highlight is that the group includes over 200 people, meaning that those 25 are about 10% of the total.

The others include several people who have opposed Trump in vehement terms — not just during the 2016 race, but continuing until the present day.

One of those, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, slammed the president last month over what he called the country’s lack of preparation for the coronavirus pandemic.

There are many, many other examples. Politico noted Tuesday that the group includes economist Larry Lindsey, who once called Trump “a 10-out-of-10 narcissist.”

One of the most interesting examples is Paul Singer of Elliott Management, whom ABC News describes as a “prominent Trump donor.”

Singer has backed super PACs that support President Trump — but only since he became president. Before that, Singer was perhaps the most vehement anti-Trump Republican in the country. In the 2016 presidential campaign, Singer funded a super PAC for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and eventually endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Most consequentially, it was Singer who first bankrolled the opposition research project by Fusion GPS into Trump’s supposed ties to Russia. Singer abandoned that effort, which was then taken up by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. It led directly to the FBI’s ill-founded investigation of the Trump campaign, and indirectly to his impeachment last year.

It would be hard to describe Singer as a Trump “ally.” Like many others on the council, he has been included because he is a leader in the U.S. economy — and has been included despite his past opposition to the president.

There are many others on the council who are outright opponents of the president. Yet instead of praising Trump for transcending politics, ABC News portrayed the council as if Trump had merely appointed a group of cronies who stood to benefit personally from their role.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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