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Trump doubles down, seeks fossil fuel money at private lunch in Houston – Mother Jones

Trump doubles down, seeks fossil fuel money at private lunch in Houston – Mother Jones
Trump doubles down, seeks fossil fuel money at private lunch in Houston – Mother Jones

Donald Trump speaking with a few people behind him, in a blue suit and yellow tie.

Donald Trump speaks outside his criminal trial in Manhattan. Mark Peterson/Pool Photo/AP

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate office collaboration.

Donald Trump was On Wednesday, he continued to ask fossil fuel executives to fund his presidential campaign, despite increased scrutiny of his dealings with the industry.

The former president attended a fundraising luncheon at the Post Oak Hotel in Houston, hosted by three Big Oil executives.

The invitation-only meeting comes a day after the defense finished its case in Trump’s criminal trial and a week after Houston was hit by deadly storms. The climate crisis, driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, has created conditions for more frequent and severe rainfall and flooding, particularly in Texas.

“Donald Trump once again tells us who he is. He has already asked for a billion dollars from the leaders of the oil sector for his campaign.

“Houston residents are watching Trump in disbelief as he arrives to beg for funds from Big Oil just days after the city’s climate disaster,” said Alex Glass, communications director for the advocacy organization Houston. Climate Power and former Houston resident.

It also follows a fundraising dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club last month, where the former president reportedly asked more than 20 oil executives for $1 billion in campaign donations from of their industry and promised, if elected, to remove obstacles to drilling and scrap metal. a pause in gas exports and the reversal of new rules aimed at reducing car pollution.

“Donald Trump is once again telling us who he is,” said Pete Maysmith, senior vice president of the environmental nonprofit League of Conservation Voters. “He has already asked oil executives for a billion dollars for his campaign; We can only assume that this week’s meeting will be about haggling over exactly what they will get in return.”

Executives from two of the companies reportedly represented at the Mar-a-Lago meeting were among the hosts of the fundraiser hosted by Trump on Wednesday.

Harold Hamm, executive chairman and founder of Continental Resources and one of the organizers of the Wednesday lunch, is a longtime Trump supporter and was also reportedly present at the April dinner.

Hamm, a multi-billionaire, played a major role in the rush to extract oil from the Bakken shale formation, which stretches across the U.S. Midwest and Canada.

During Trump’s first presidential campaign, Hamm was also reportedly one of seven major donors to receive special seats at Trump’s inauguration. The oil tycoon was briefly considered for energy secretary during the former president’s first term, but reportedly turned down the position. He turned away from Trump after his 2020 defeat, choosing to donate to his opponents, but later donated to Trump’s primary campaign in August.

One of Hamm’s co-hosts Wednesday was Vicki Hollub, chief executive of Occidental Petroleum, who was also represented at the Mar-a-Lago fundraiser. Hollub has been criticized by climate activists for investing in carbon capture technology in a bid to continue extracting oil and gas, despite warnings that fossil fuels must be phased out to avoid the worst effects of climate change. climate change.

Congressional Democrats on Wednesday launched an investigation into Occidental Petroleum and other companies after the Federal Trade Commission last month charged the head of Pioneer Natural Resources with illegal collusion with the Opec+ oil production cartel to maintain fuel prices. at a high level.

The third co-host of Wednesday’s meeting, Kelcy Warren, is the executive chairman of Energy Transfer Partners, a company with which Trump has close financial ties.

Throughout the 2024 campaign cycle, Warren has donated more than $800,000 to Trump’s campaign. During the 2020 election cycle, he hosted at least one fundraiser for the former president in 2020 and donated $10 million to a pro-Trump Super Pac.

During his first presidential campaign in 2016, Trump invested in the company while receiving more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from Warren, the board chairman. Guardian find.

The industry has so far devoted at least $7.3 million to Trump’s 2024 campaign and associated groups.

Warren appears to have benefited from Trump’s first term: Within days of taking office in 2017, Trump approved the construction of his company’s controversial Dakota Access pipeline, sparking outrage from climate advocates, environmental advocates and neighboring indigenous tribal organizations.

Last year, the Texas Tribune found that Energy Transfer Partners profited $2.4 billion as gas demand soared during Texas’ deadly winter freeze and subsequent collapse of the state’s energy grid .

The fossil fuel industry has dedicated $7.3 million to Trump’s 2024 campaign and related groups, making it its fifth-largest industry donor this election cycle.

The billion-dollar ‘deal’ Trump reportedly proposed to oil executives last month could save the industry $110 billion in tax breaks if he returns to the White House, according to a analysis from last week.

Last week, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) launched a House oversight investigation into nine oil companies after Trump allegedly proposed dismantling Biden’s environmental rules for their benefit and requested $1 billion in contributions to his presidential campaign.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has also expressed interest in a formal investigation into the Mar-a-Lago meeting. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, the powerful Washington watchdog, also told the Guardian he investigates.