Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts drew a line in the sand against President-elect Donald Trump with a strongly-worded open letter Nov. 15.
Warren's letter, posted on her Senate website page, slammed Trump's picks for his transition team and possible cabinet appointments:
Based on public reports, your transition team and your potential cabinet include over twenty Wall Street elites, industry insiders, and lobbyists making decisions that could have huge implications for their clients or employers.
They include, among many others, a former Goldman Sachs executive who is rumored to be a Treasury Secretary pick; a paid consultant for Verizon who is making key decisions on your administration's Federal Communication Commission; a "top lobbyist" whose firm lobbied on behalf of issues related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership who is shaping your Labor Department; and a climate-change-denying, oil industry-paid think tank fellow who is leading your environmental team's transition.
You made numerous promises to the American people in your election campaign, none bigger than the promise to "drain the swamp" of Washington D.C. special interests rigged against the middle class. The decisions you make with your transition team will shape the next four years of this nation. They will also reflect the strength of your character and your ability to truly lead--not just follow the marching orders of the special interests and Wall Street bankers you purportedly oppose.
Warren demanded that Trump drop the lobbyists and special interests from his team, and promised to oppose him if he didn't:
Let me be clear. Should you refuse, I will oppose you, every step of the way, for the next four years. I will champion the millions of Americans you will fail to protect. I will track your every move, and I will remind Americans, every day, of the actions you take that fail them. And I will not be the only one watching. The millions of Americans who voted for you - and the millions who didn't - will all be watching you.
During an interview with "60 Minutes" Nov. 13, Trump defended having lobbyists on his transition team even though he opposes lobbyists.
"That’s the only people you have down there," Trump told Lesley Stahl. "That’s what they are. They’re lobbyists or special interests ... we are trying to clean up Washington."
"But you’re, but you’re basically saying you have to rely on them, even though you want to get rid of them?" Stahl asked.
"I’m saying that they know the system right now, but we’re going to phase that out," Trump insisted. "You have to phase it out."
Fox News reports that Vice President-elect Mike Pence took over Trump's transition team Nov. 15, and began dropping lobbyists from the team on Nov. 16.
An unidentified source said that dropping the lobbyists (who were bought in by Trump) "makes good on [Trump's] vision of how he wants his government constructed."
Prior to Pence, Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was running the transition team.
Christie's former top aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, and Bill Baroni, a Christie appointment, were recently convicted for their roles in the September 2013 "Bridgegate" scandal, according to NJ.com.
During the trial, there was repeated testimony that Christie knew about the illegal bridge closure, which Christie still denies.