FAIRFAX, VA – Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized Trump officials’ ties to lobbyists and government contractors during her first campaign stop in Virginia. And yes, per her campaign mantra, she’s “got a plan for that.”
The Democratic Senator from Massachusetts kicked off her speech by denouncing the “revolving door” between contractors and the Trump administration’s Department of Defense, which spent $34.7 billion on contracts in the Commonwealth last year.
“They have built this great revolving door between the Department of Defense and the big contractors, and they want that revolving door to keep spinning. Why? Because it helps them with their profits,” Warren said.
Warren used the defense contract discussion to underscore a broader theme of fighting corruption and ending “lobbying as we know it.” She also called out the oil industry, pharmaceutical companies, and Wall Street.
“The influence of money touches every decision that gets made in Washington,” Warren said. Trump campaigned on a promise of eliminating special interests in Washington, but Democrats say that instead of draining the swamp, he re-stocked it.
Warren, one of nearly two dozen candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, delivered her remarks to an audience of 1,100 at George Mason University, just 17 miles north of the Pentagon.
She zeroed in on Patrick Shanahan, who spent 30 years at Boeing before President Donald Trump named him acting Secretary of Defense.
“Here’s a guy who has absolutely zero experience in government,” Warren said, “What does he have experience in? …Increasing the profitability of Boeing.”
It’s not the first time Warren has taken a whack at Boeing. In March, she was among the first lawmakers to pressure the FAA to ground Being 737 Max 8 jets, following two deadly crashes.
Buffering her attack on DOD contracts, Warren explained she has three brothers who served in the military, including one who spent over five years in active combat during the Vietnam War. She said her critique aimed to protect soldiers, not belittle the “talented and patriotic Americans who work in the defense industry.”
The policy-savvy Warren called for new ethics rules that would bar senior DOD officials from trading defense contractor stocks, prohibit intelligence community officers from working for a foreign government, and add transparency to lobbying at the Pentagon.
The Defense Department estimates that it generates 224,797 jobs in Virginia, and the majority of the top 20 military contractors, including General Dynamics and Norhrop Grumman, call Virginia home.