Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich appealed directly to Donald Trump during an appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 tonight, taking the president-elect to task for tweets against a union boss, Alec Baldwin and individual journalists: “You are looking and acting as if you are mean and petty and thin-skinned and vindictive,” Reich said, looking into the camera and addressing Trump. “Stop this.”
Reich’s impassioned plea – or confrontation – followed Trump’s tweet tonight criticizing Chuck Jones, the president of United Steelworkers 1999 who publicly disputed the president-elect’s figures regarding the number of jobs saved at the Carrier manufacturing plant in Indiana. Jones says the number of jobs saved by Trump’s involvement is considerably fewer than the 1,100 claimed, and that about 500 are still headed to Mexico.
Trump lashed back, and got personal, tweeting “Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!”
And in a response just as direct, Reich used his appearance on CNN to speak to the president-elect “because Donald Trump is probably watching right now.” (Watch the video above).
After mentioning Trumps tweets against Jones, Baldwin, journalists and Boeing – and pointedly dismissing any comparisons to FDR’s fireside chats – Reich said, “You are going to be president very shortly. You are going to have at your command not just twitter but also the CIA, the IRS, the FBI. If you have this kind of thin-skinned vindictive attitude, we are in very deep trouble, and sir, so are you.”
Trump’s union tweet – and Reich’s response to it – prompted a quick and heavy reaction on social media. Here’s a sampling: