October 30, 2017

Billionaire Tom Steyer donates a cool $10 million to get Trump impeached


Like many of us, hedge fund billionaire and environmental philanthropist Thomas Steyer has had enough of Donald Trump’s presidency. Unlike many of us, he has the ability to donate $10 million to an ad campaign encouraging elected officials to impeach Trump.

Steyer launched his campaign with a national TV ad that urges Americans to let Congress know “that it’s time to stop doing what’s political and start doing what’s right.” Steyer cites some of Trump’s outrageous behavior, including his obstruction of justice at the FBI, taking money from foreign governments, bringing the country to the brink of nuclear war, and threatening to shut down news organizations:

The ad directs viewers to the new website behind Steyer’s push, NeedToImpeach.com, where he has posted an open letter addressing elected officials, detailing and explaining the need to remove Trump from office. The website also encourages visitors to sign a petition calling for Trump’s impeachment.

Impeachment’s been on a lot of minds, lately, including ours — we’re currently in the midst of organizing a nationwide campaign to send a copy of Barbara A. Radnofsky’s A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment to every single member of the House and Senate. As we wrote in the press release about our initiative, “A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment is a straightforward and non-partisan guide meant to teach the average person exactly what impeachment is, including the precise rules of the process and their application throughout the history of the United States. Writing in clear, accessible terms, Barbara Radnofsky intends to help citizens understand what constitutes an impeachable offense as well as the process of removing someone from office.” If Radnofsky’s book and Steyer’s TV spot can together help make “impeachment” the word of the moment in our national consciousness, that’s great.

According to David Weigel at the Washington Post, Steyer’s ad will be supplemented by a seven-figure social media buy.

On Friday morning, it aired during “Fox and Friends,” which Trump is known to watch. Almost immediately afterwards, he tweeted, calling Steyer “wacky & totally unhinged” and complaining that Steyer has been “fighting me and my Make American Great Again agenda from the beginning.”

“You’re right about one thing,” Steyer tweeted back. “I have been fighting your racism and corporate groveling from the beginning — and always will.”

As Inae Oh points out over at Mother Jones, Trump’s tweet “is likely to bring more attention on Steyer’s campaign.”

Steyer is a former hedge fund manager who has donated millions to Democratic candidates over the years. He’s the founder of NextGen America, a political action committee that supports candidates and initiatives opposed to climate change. According to Weigel, the impeachment campaign is not a project of NextGen America, but “funded directly by Steyer, a donor who has not ruled out a run for office himself and who has built relationships with think tanks and elected Democrats in California and Washington.”





Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.