The former CEO of Intercontinental Exchange subsidiary Bakkt and a current Republican senator for Georgia, Kelly Loeffler, has been rewarded with a new appointment despite recent controversies. In a tweet published on April 16, Loeffler wrote:
“Thank you, @realDonaldTrump for appointing me to your task force on re-opening America safely in the wake of #COVID19. With 22 million Americans filing for unemployment, it’s clear we must start working to revive our economy and get the American people back to work safely.”
The appointment follows hot on the heels of news that Loeffler sold off seven figures’ worth of personal stock holdings after being present at a closed-door Senate Health Committee briefing in late January — sparking allegations of illegal insider trading.
“Without my knowledge”
Loeffler has repeatedly dismissed the allegations, claiming that investment decisions for her portfolio “are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.”
Yet her sell-off of stocks that soon suffered exponential losses in the market crash — alongside her parallel investment in a software firm for remote teleworking — have continued to generate suspicion in both the public and press.
Trump’s task force, a bipartisan cohort of lawmakers hastily convened “to provide counsel to the president on the reopening of America in the wake of COVID-19,” includes another senator accused of capitalizing on the crisis — Loeffler’s fellow Republican from Georgia, David Perdue.
Having dumped certain stock in late January and early February, Perdue has meanwhile been amassing stock in a manufacturer of personal protective equipment as of late January.
While the allegations against Loeffler and others have not been officially investigated, the senator has meanwhile sought to publicly downplay the adverse impact of the pandemic on what she presents as a resilient U.S. economy.
Yesterday, Trump unveiled federal guidelines for getting Americans back to work — these will be staggered, but do not yet have a clear target date.
The president has resisted the idea that the pandemic could establish a “new normal” until a vaccine is found, telling reporters this week that “normal is going to be if a restaurant had 158 seats filled before, they are going to have 158 seats filled again.”
Yang gang resists Republican line
On the same day that Loeffler tweeted in favor of getting “the American people back to work safely,” former Democratic presidential contender and cryptocurrency advocate Andrew Yang pushed back against some Republicans’ emphasis on economic over public health:
“The unit of an economy should be each person not each dollar.”
One Yang supporter retweeted Loeffler’s announcement of her appointment to the task force, arguing:
“Maybe the fact that 22 million Americans immediately had to file for unemployment because they live paycheck-to-paycheck says something about stagnant wages in America and shines line [sic.] on a broken system. It’s time to implement @AndrewYang‘s UBI plan.