Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, said one faction has good trade policy but was "racist," while the other faction "were Wall Streeters."
Richard Trumka, the head of the largest federation of unions in the US, had harsh words Wednesday for the members of the Trump administration.
Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, told an audience at a Christian Science Monitor event that it's difficult for him to work with either of the two major factions in the White House.
Here's Trumka's remarks, via NBC News' Alex Seitz-Wald:
"You had two factions in the White House. You had one faction that actually had some of the policies we would have supported on trade, on infrastructure — but they turned out to be racist. And on the other hand, you had people that weren't racist, but they were Wall Streeters. And the Wall Streeters began to dominate the administration and have moved his agenda back to everything he fought against in the election."
Trumka was a member of President Donald Trump's manufacturing jobs council until he left that post in the wake of Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The council was designed to increase manufacturing employment in the US.
The first faction Trumka mentioned refers to the side of the White House that favors more protectionist trade policies, exemplified by former chief strategist Steve Bannon. These policies fall more in line with the populist, more nationalist message of Trump's campaign aimed at protecting manufacturing jobs and increasing wages.
On the other hand, many members of Trump's administration, like National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, favor more open trade policies, which have been shown to increase overall wealth but weigh on the US middle class, particularly in manufacturing.
Trumka was staunchly critical of Trump following his response to the Charlottesville violence, saying that the AFL-CIO could not be a part of a council for a president who "tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism."