EDITOR’S NOTE: During the run-up to the 2020 presidential sweepstakes — hopefully without any interference from Russian operatives promoting Trump’s re-election bid — The Shinbone Star will highlight Big Lies uttered and promoted on a daily basis by the current occupant of the White House and provide commentary on new “whoppers” that hurt the working men and women of America. Today we tackle Donald’s promise to “drain the swamp.”
Donald J. Trump amped up his 2016 presidential campaign rallies by railing against the Washington, D.C. political establishment, loudly and frequently pledging to “drain the swamp” of corrupt politicians and influence peddlers in the halls of Congress and the White House.
He was the only candidate who was going to clean up the muck that was keeping America from being great, he blathered. He shouted at crowds of supporters, wagged his small fingers in a “no-no more corruption” gesture while promising to limit the access lobbyists would have to representatives of his administration. He refused to profit from his move into the White House.
Trump even used his favorite communication vehicle to fire up anti-Washington voters. From his Twitter account archives there is this gem, blustering about the “swamp” issue:
“Let’s say Washington is a swamp, as Trump calls it. Then lobbyists are the gators, and strong ethics rules are the fence that keeps Americans from getting bit. In President Donald Trump’s swamp, the gators keep getting bigger and the fence is in tatters.”
Ethics reform in the first two years of Trump as president? It hasn’t happened and never will. He and his family are making too much money at taxpayer expense and from contributions in the form of payments to Trump properties by individuals and organizations who want to profit from access to his administration.
Don’t believe “the swamp” is even deeper now than it was two years ago?
Facts, not “fake news,” are plentiful. The “Florida White House,” known to many national and international lobbyists seeking political handouts as Mar-a-Lago, is just one Trump property basking in the financial motherlode of taxpayer-funded visits by the First Family, White House aides and Secret Service agents as well as extended personal and political guest appearances by domestic and foreign dignitaries.
Four years ago, Trump hotel properties earned a paltry $17 million. In 2017, the latest figures available for public review, the number ballooned to nearly $61 million, according to The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign spending and politicians’ finances.
In addition to the Florida resort, Trump in 2016 opened a swank property in our nation’s capital — The Old Post Office building — in time for his inauguration celebration despite ethical guidelines that stated “No elected official of the Government of the United States . . . shall be admitted to any share or part of this lease.” Since then that hotel has turned into go-to accommodations for any foreign visitor looking to win favors from the Trumps. It’s also the focal point of most Republican activities in “The Trump Swamp” that is today’s Washington, D.C.
It’s not all about Trump and his family unethically profiting from occupying the White House. The Trump administration from the start has been populated by former lobbyists who stand to benefit personally and monetarily from serving in an administration that pledged to “drain the swamp.”
Last week the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to move forward the nomination of Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former Westlands Water District and oil industry lobbyist, to a full Senate vote, setting the stage for a contentious and heated debate. Why should there be questions about Bernhardt taking on his “acting” assignment on a permanent basis?
In his lobbying disclosures, Bernhardt listed “potential legislation regarding the Bureau of Reclamation and the Endangered Species Act” under his specific lobbying areas, including trying to minimize protections for endangered salmon, Delta smelt and other fish populations.
Bernhardt’s climb in the power and influence rankings of Cabinet members follows Trump naming Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the coal industry, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency late last year. Wheeler has been serving as acting administrator since July, after former EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigned amid numerous ethical scandals.
As a lobbyist, Wheeler represented Murray Energy — a coal company whose CEO literally sent Trump a wish list of environmental regulations he wanted dismantled. Trump’s EPA, now led by Wheeler, is on track to fulfill almost all of those requests.
These are just two of the most glaring examples of a “swamp” being filled — not drained — by Trump who essentially intends to run the country through a series of executive orders, thereby ignoring Congress and taking any challenges of his authority to court where Republicans over the past few decades have stacked the deck in their favor.
Last July, the Center for Responsive Politics published a list of current and former lobbyists with ties to the Trump administration. Bernhardt and Wheeler are just two of more than 160 former lobbyists who were working in the Trump-controlled executive branch when the list was made public. The searchable database includes current Trump staffers and 18 former staffers now working as lobbyists. The page includes the names of staffers, their current or former positions and their most recent private-sector employer.
Trump never intended to drain the swamp. He feeds off the bottom-sucking scum that populates the lobbying profession, people who buy politicians with campaign contributions or special gifts and trips to make the Washington power elite feel important at the expense of the American people.
Fact is Trump has done more to feed the alligators in the swamp and rip apart the fence that protects Americans from bad laws than any president in recent history.
Final grade on Trump’s “drain the swamp” lie: Let’s call it a B and S.
Read more of The Shinbone Star’s ‘The Big Lies’ series:
- Many Explanations of the 2016 Trump Tower Meeting
- Trump’s ‘Snake Oil’ Sales Pitch for a Health Care Plan