Demolition Agenda: A Conversation with Tom McGarity on New Book about Trump Administration’s Corruption

Demolition Agenda Speakers

On Thursday, May 19, the Center for Progressive Reform hosted a conversation with Member Scholar and Board Member Tom McGarity on his new book, Demolition Agenda.

The book is the first comprehensive account of the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine our government institutions, cataloguing events across federal agencies that put business interests and corporate greed ahead of public protections and responsible governance.

This virtual event featured a one-on-one conversation with McGarity and the Center’s Senior Policy Analyst James Goodwin and included Q&A from the audience.

Watch the event recording on YouTube or view the embedded video below.

Demolition Agenda Cover

Koch Industries spent $3.1 million in the first three months of the Trump administration, largely to ensure confirmation of Scott Pruitt as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By July 2018, more than 16 federal inquiries were pending into Pruitt’s mismanagement and corruption. But Pruitt was just the first in a long line of industry-friendly, incompetent, and destructive agency heads put in place by the Trump administration in its effort to dismantle the federal government’s protective edifice.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke faced 18 separate federal inquiries and was subsequently fired; this came well after he made a deal with Halliburton to build a brewery on land he owned in Montana.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who rescinded requirements that high-hazard trains install special braking systems, weakened standards for storing natural gas, and lengthened the hours that truck drivers could be on the road without a break, failed to divest her interest in a road materials manufacturer.

McGarity also considers other players in the Trump administration, including Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos, Sonny Perdue, and Andrew Puzder.

In an original and compelling argument, McGarity shows how adding populists to conservatives' traditional base of free market ideologues allowed Trump to come dangerously close to achieving his goal of demolishing the programs that Congress put in place over many decades to protect consumers, workers, communities, children, and the environment. McGarity also offers a blueprint for rebuilding the protective edifice and restoring the power of government to offer all Americans better lives.

Demolition Agenda is available from most booksellers.