First Sanders, now Trumka—are there any capitalists left on the left? On the most recent Meet the Press, Bernie Sanders made news when Chuck Todd asked him if he was a capitalist. "No," shot back Sanders, "I'm a democratic socialist." Mark Halperin was obviously taken enough by the question as to pose it on today's With All Due Respect to Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.
"No, I'm a trade unionist, quite frankly," retorted Trumka. When Halperin tried to pursue the issue, Trumka laughed it off, calling it a "silly question." Silly? The biggest union boss in America opposes the economic system that made this country great and which creates the private sector jobs his members fill? Employers have to bargain with people who reject the very premise upon which their businesses rest? Silly? You're killing us, Richard. Or should we say "Mr. President," which was the obsequious way in which Halperin and co-host John Heilemann addressed Trumka. But kudos to Halperin for posing and then pursuing the question.
MARK HALPERIN: We're joined now by the head of the AFL-CIO, President Richard Trumka, who joins us from Washington, and with us here is our colleague, Melissa Hennenberger. Mr. President, thank you for joining us. Are you a capitalist?
RICHARD TRUMKA: I'm sorry?
HALPERIN: Are you a capitalist?
TRUMKA: [extended laughter] No, I'm a trade unionist, quite frankly.
HALPERIN: So you reject the label a capitalist for yourself, just like Bernie Sanders does?
TRUMLA: [Very extended laughter] Ahhhhh.
HALPERIN: Is that a laugh that's a yes, or a laugh that's a no?
TRUMKA: It's a laugh because it's a silly question.