Climate Activists Trash Steyer’s Surprise White House Bid

Activist: 'He's driven by ego'

Tom Steyer / Getty Images
• July 12, 2019 4:15 pm


Some climate change activists are trashing left-wing megadonor Tom Steyer's surprising decision to run for president, with one calling it proof that "he's all out for him" rather than the cause.

HuffPost quoted climate researchers and activists who were unimpressed with Steyer, a billionaire who has poured his fortune into boosting causes like climate change, as well as supporting Democratic candidates and leading an impeachment effort against President Donald Trump.

"I really don’t get it, man," said a "top climate policy researcher in California" who stayed anonymous because  he said Steyer "has a lot of money" that he uses to support climate work.

Another activist said, "I wish he weren't doing it." He too stayed anonymous, for fear of running afoul of Steyer and his deep pockets.

"There was always that question in the back of everybody's minds of whether he's driven by ego and whether he's all out for him, or whether he's trying to build a movement," he said. "This answers the question clearly."

Steyer said in January he wasn't running for president before changing his mind, telling CBS he felt the 2020 candidates weren't speaking enough to the issue of breaking the stranglehold of corporations on politics.

"It's hard to make the case for a billionaire running for president in this day and age," said Julian Brave NoiseCat, the Green New Deal strategist at the left-leaning think tank Data for Progress. "Especially this late in the game, and especially when we were all under the impression he was not running."

Leading 2020 candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) didn't welcome Steyer to the race with warm words either.

Sanders grumbled to MSNBC that he was "not a big fan" of the idea and "a bit tired of seeing billionaires trying to buy political power." Warren attacked Steyer in a fundraising email over the news that he would pour $100 million of his own fortune into the race.

"Tom Steyer announced that he's running for president, and that he plans to spend at least $100 million of his own money to try to win," Warren's team wrote. "Look: It's good to have a competitive primary. But here's the thing: We need our candidates to compete to have the best ideas — not just to write themselves the biggest checks."