Bernie Sanders has said Donald Trump's move to relax banking regulations after he promised to crack down on Wall Street prove the President is “a fraud”.
“I have so many people, friends of mine, that have nice businesses – they can’t borrow money. They just can’t get any money, because the banks just won’t let them borrow because of the rules and regulations,” Mr Trump told reporters upon signing an executive order.
When asked whether he saw any upsides about the deregulation to the banking system, Mr Sanders said:
“You know it is hard not to laugh to see President Trump along these Wall Street guys," he said.
“I don’t mean to be disrespectful. This guy is a fraud.
“This guy ran for president of the United States saying, ‘I, Donald Trump, I’m going to take on Wall Street. These guys are getting away with murder and then suddenly, he appoints all these billionaires. His major financial adviser comes from Goldman Sachs. And now he is going to dismantle legislation that protects consumers."
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 5, 2017
During his campaign, Mr Trump repeatedly adopted an anti-establishment and anti-Wall Street position.
“I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over [Ted Cruz]. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton,” he said, adding Wall Street banks “owned” Hillary Clinton.
But among some of President Trump’s closest team are a number of key Wall Street figures.
His chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, who has a seat on the National Security Council, is a veteran banker from Goldman Sachs,
Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary nominee, is a former Goldman Sachs partner and Wall Street billionaire Wilbur Ross is in line for commerce secretary.
Mr Sanders conceded the US President was “a good showman” but questioned the credibility of his claims to stand up for the working class.
In his inauguration speech, Mr Trump said: “The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”
But Mr Sanders said: “I hope that all of those folks who voted for Mr. Trump because he — thought that he would stand up for working people, man, this guy is — you know, he’s a good showman. I will give you that. He’s a good TV guy.
“A president that in a totally fraudulent campaign said I’m going to stand up for the working people — look at his cabinet we never had more billionaires in a cabinet in the history of this country. Look at his appointees, these are people who are going after the needs of working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor that is called hypocrisy.”
Mr Sanders, who contested Hillary Clinton to be the Democrat's presidential candidate, also attacked Mr Trump for appointing to his cabinet Republicans, "who will dismantle Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid", despite the US President’s pledge on the campaign trail that he would “leave Social Security the way it is”.
“This is a guy who ran for president saying, ‘I’m going — I’m the only Republican, I’m not going to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And then he appoints all of these guys who are precisely going to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” Mr Sanders said.
The Senatoal also called on “mainstream conservative politicians”, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, to stand up to the Mr Trump’s “movement towards authoritarianism”.
“We’re a democracy, not a one-man show. We are not another Trump enterprise. It’s called the United States of America. We’re not a business run by Mr Trump.
“But I would hope that he [Sen. McConnell} and his Republican friends will make it clear to Trump that this country belongs to all of us, and it’s not a one-man show,” he said.