What Happened to Draining the Swamp?

Quick… What’s the “swampiest” political move you can think of?

If you answered, “Making sure your cronies don’t pay for their crimes,” you’re right.

Using your elective office for personal gain is pretty swampy. So is appointing your unqualified buddies to high office. But getting your cronies off scot-free after they’ve committed crimes? That takes swampy balls the size of watermelons.

Which has got to make Donald Trump the King of Swamp Monsters.

He Came to Drain the Swamp

In December 2016, Trump tweeted, “Someone incorrectly stated that the phrase ‘DRAIN THE SWAMP’ was no longer being used by me. Actually, we will always be trying to DTS.”

And that’s one of the few truths I can find among Trumps many tweets and quotes. He used the phrase in June 2020 to push for Sen. David Purdue’s reelection. Trump needs Purdue, he said, to help Drain the Swamp and Make America Great Again.

Side note: Well over than three years after becoming president, Trump admits he has neither drained the swamp nor made America great again. Sounds to me he’s admitting he’s failed. But, moving on…

In February 2020, Trump tweeted, “DRAIN THE SWAMP! We want bad people out of our government!”

Wait a minute. This guy took office in January 2017. Three years after taking the reins – and installing his hand-picked team at the head of every executive branch… Three years after taking office with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress… Three years after launching an unprecedented campaign to install friendly judges…

He’s still whining about draining the swamp?

Again, that sounds like failure to me. But here’s why he’s had such a hard time…

Bad Actors Don’t Make for Good Government

Back in February 2018 – barely a year after Trump took office – CNBC reported on his scandal-plagued administration. At that point, eight of Trump’s cabinet-level officials were already implicated in scandals.

  • Health and Human Services head Tom Price spent $900,000 of taxpayers’ money for trips on private or military jets… when commercial aircraft could have served the purpose.

 

  • David Shulkin, the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, made a rather shady trip to Europe. To begin with, Shulkin improperly charged his wife’s travel expenses to taxpayers. He also allowed staff to handle disallowed personal travel details. And wrongly accepted tickets to a sporting event

 

  • Environmental Protection Agency secretary Scott Pruitt also came under fire for travel. CNBC points out Pruitt improperly flew first class – at a substantial cost to taxpayers. Over a 3-month period, Pruitt was absent from his office 46% of the time.

 

  • Ben Carson? Trump’s head of Housing and Urban Development was accused of nepotism. His wife’s firm even “won” a $485,000 government contract in an unusual no-bid situation.

 

  • Ryan Zinke? The former Interior Department secretary had a little travel problem. He charge the government $12,735 for one trip from Las Vegas to Montana. The department inspector general (IG) complained that Zinke failed to keep complete records of his travel.

 

  • Steve Mnuchin? His use of military jets instead of commercial flights was questioned by Treasury’s IG. Not the least of his offenses: Charging taxpayers for his wife’s travel to Fort Knox.

 

I could go on… but what’s the point?

Wilbur Ross sleeps through meetings. Rick Perry didn’t know the Department of Energy was responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons. Betsy DeVos knows almost nothing about education. Ad infinitum.

The point is, you can’t “drain the swamp” by putting crooked, greedy, or ignorant people in positions of power.

Which is exactly what Trump has done. To your detriment.

So how do you fight back?

Should We Really Drain the Swamp?

First, let’s think about swamps. They’re not bad places at all. In fact, swamps support healthy ecosystems around the Earth. The problem with swamps is when someone introduces toxins… which then leak out into other ecosystems.

The key isn’t to drain swamps – which destroys ecosystems. It’s to keep out the toxins.

Swamps are healthy ecosystems. Ecosystems that promote a healthy environment. Draining swamps leads to the death of healthy ecosystems.

Only short-sighted, destructive people say, “Drain the swamp,” without considering the consequences.

But that’s the point of the Trump administration. They want to drain the swamp… regardless of the consequences. Because they see short-term gain.

But the swamp is where countless creatures start their lives. The “swamp” is the primordial ooze of Democracy. And the antithesis of Trump’s fascist goals.

Should we drain the swamp? Or should we rid it of the toxic ooze that threatens its very existence? Maybe we should go with Mother Nature.

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“Drain the Swamp,” Trump Twitter Archive. Jul 11, 2020.

Mangan, D., “Trump’s Cabinet has been rocked by a number of ethics scandals — here’s a complete guide,” CNBC. Feb 16, 2018.

Donald Trump, the “Chinese” Virus, and the Future of America

We all saw the picture of President Trump’s speech. A Washington Postphotographer snapped a frame of Trump’s prepared speech. And there it was: The word “Corona” was crossed out – with Trump’s beloved “Sharpie” – and replaced with “Chinese.”

Here he was again… assigning blame and, at the same time, tossing a little racism in the mix for his base. Is it any wonder we’ve seen a sharp uptick in racist acts against Asians? Of course, Trump has an excuse. “That’s where it originated,” he says.

But when he talks about H1N1, he doesn’t call it “the American virus.” Even though it was first identified here. I wonder how the President would feel if all the other countries called H1N1 “the American virus.” Can you imagine him remaining calm? I can’t.

But here we are, facing a deadly pandemic with our national response depending on the moods of a paranoid narcissist. Who seems comfortable with a little racism, to boot.

So, what’s really happening here? Let’s look at the timeline.

Donald Trump vs. COVID-19

When asked how he’d rate his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump was quick to respond.

“I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job…” was his immediate response.

But here’s how Trump’s darling – Fox News – described it…

“President Trump on Monday gave his administration high marks for its response to the coronavirus,” Fox wrote, “despite criticisms for a shortage of testing kits and for his downplaying the severity of the pandemic.”

Even Trump’s most ardent cheer squad had to hedge its comments. Because – let’s face it – the White House response hasn’t been stellar.

In fact, the President tried to downplay the severity of the pandemic for weeks. And thus delayed our nation’s response. In the end, this could cost thousands of lives.

Most of Trump’s moves since then have followed suit: Delaying action that could slow the spread and save lives.

And making Trump’s response of “I’d rate it a 10” accurate only if it were on a scale of 1 – 100.

Trump Did Something Right… Almost. Then…

On Jan 31, Trump blocked entrance to the U.S. for most people who’d traveled to most of China in the last 14 days. But this didn’t apply to Macau or Hong Kong… or to U.S. citizens or lawful residents.

With these gaping exceptions, Trump made the only smart move he’d make for weeks. Weeks? His comments to downplay the severity date back to at least Jan 22.

On Feb 2 – in spite of a quiet move by HHS Secretary Alex Azar to declare the novel coronavirus a public health emergency – Trump tells Fox’s Sean Hannity, “Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

On Feb 24, Trump asked for more than $1.75 billion in new and moved funding to fight the coronavirus threat. At the same time, Trump tweeted, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

By Feb 25, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) was saying a coronavirus pandemic wasn’t a matter of if, but of when. At the same time, Mitt Romney – a Republican – said he was disappointed the administration wasn’t doing more to prepare.

On the same day, Trump tweeted, “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus…” On the 28th, he blamed the spread of coronavirus on the Democrats.

On March 5, Trump claimed partial victory. He compared U.S. numbers to those of other countries. And blamed “MSNDC” for publishing fake news.

On March 9, Trump tried to compare seasonal flu with COVID-19. We don’t shut down over the seasonal flu, he argued… so why should we over this novel coronavirus?

On March 10, Trump promised tests people couldn’t get. On the same day, he demanded more work on the wall to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The only problem? Cases were far more widespread in the U.S. than in Mexico.

On the 11th, he announced “payroll tax relief” and blamed the Democrats for slowing response. (In spite of the fact that payroll tax relief largely benefits employers.)

March 12 found Trump boasting about 4 million test kits soon to be available. “If you go to the right agency,” he claimed, “if you go to the right area, you get the test.”

On March 13 – more than seven weeks after COVID-19 arrived in the U.S.  – Trump declared a public health emergency. Meanwhile, the disease had spread widely.

March 17: Trump called for people to work at home, limit travel, and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

On March 23, Trump tweeted, “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself…” Breitbart News said Trump was ready to start relaxing coronavirus restrictions.

On the 24th, he told America he’d “… love to have the country opened up, and just raring to go by Easter.”

Of course, Trump has since reversed himself on this… along with pretty much everything else he’s said about the COVID-19 virus.

But that’s the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Trump Ignored Specific Warnings

Trump claims nobody could have known such a pandemic could arise. But the Obama administration warned him of just such a threat during the transition.

In those days, the outgoing president’s team walked Trump’s incoming team through exactly the situation we face now. Along with all the necessary steps to take to defeat it.

Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, downplayed the exercise. “There’s no briefing,” Spicer said, “that can prepare you for a worldwide pandemic.” At least two Trump cabinet members – Wilber Ross and Rick Perry – attended the exercise.

Yup. Nobody could have foreseen exactly what you were warned about.

Then in January and February of 2020, the Trump administration was warned of the severity – and potential – of the coronavirus pandemic. By their own national security team. They chose to ignore those warnings.

Trump’s own intelligence agencies were warning of the severity of COVID-19. And Trump chose to ignore the warnings.

According to one Trump administration official, “Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were – they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it.”

Could the U.S. have reacted more quickly? It’s clear the answer is yes. Could we have saved lives? Unquestionably. Was the Trump administration part of the problem? That’s pretty hard to deny.

Should we give a second term to a man who deliberately and actively led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds – if not thousands – of Americans?

Not in our wildest dreams.

Donald Trump’s actions – or lack thereof – clearly led to many deaths. He should not be rewarded for this travesty. He should be relegated to the dumpster of history… A fate he richly deserves.

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Sources:

Casiano, L., “Trump, asked about coronavirus response, gives himself a 10 out of 10,” Fox News. Mar 16, 2020.

Dilanian, K., et al, “Timeline: Trump administration’s response to coronavirus,” NBC News. March 17, 2020.

Spiering, C., “Donald Trump on Coronavirus Restrictions: ‘We Cannot Let the Cure Be Worse than the Problem’,” Breitbart News. Mar 23, 2020.

Greenberg, J., “President Donald Trump delivers a prime-time address to the nation about the coronavirus from the Oval Office on March 11,” Politifact(dot)com. March 20, 2020.

Toosi, N., et. Al., “Before Trump’s inauguration, a warning: ‘The worst influenza pandemic since 1918’,” Politico(dot)com. Mar 16, 2020.

Harris, S., et al, “U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic,” MSN(dot)com. Mar 22, 2020.

Leading Republicans Speak Their Minds on Trump

Republicans complain the Left trash-talks Trump. “How could you?” they exclaim as they clutch at their hearts and stagger in feigned shock.

Never mind how their boy publicly runs down anyone who disagrees with him. And has a history of making misogynistic and openly racist comments.

Now he’s calling himself “the chosen one.” And accepting praise as “the King of Israel” and “the Second Coming.” I’m not sure how I missed publishing these quotes… but it appears I may have.

Time for someone to take Deluded Donnie down a peg or two. And who better than his allies? Note: About half of these date from afterthe 2016 election…

  • Lindsay Graham: “I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.” (Feb 2016)
  • Ted Cruz: “This man is a pathological liar, he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies…” (May 2016)
  • Marco Rubio: “We cannot have a commander-in-chief that is not ready the first day in office.” (Feb 2016)
  • The late Sen. John McCain: “The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate.” (Jul 2018)
  • Mitt Romney: “On balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.” (Jan 2019)
  • Former Sen. Bob Corker: “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful…” (Aug 2017)
  • Rand Paul: “Conservatives have to decide if he’s a fake conservative or not. And I think truly he is a fake conservative, because he’s been on every side of every issue in the last five years.” (Aug 2015)
  • Former Gov. John Kasich: “The things that have swirled around this White House are the reasons that caused me not to move forward and support him… also there wasn’t a real grasp on the issues that I think are so important.” (May 2017)
  • Former Gov. Judd Gregg: “Generating confusion is not a track that leads to making America great again. Rather, it takes us down a road that diminishes our international reputation.” (Jun 2017)
  • Susan Collins: “Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country.” (Aug 2016)
  • Republican Strategist Ana Navarro-Cardenas: “Then… you realize just how much he is diminishing the presidency of the United States… He is embarrassing. He is shameful. He is disgusting.” (June 2017)
  • Former Sen. Jeff Flake: “The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined… by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters… is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.” (Oct 2017)
  • Ben Sasse: “Mr. Trump’s relentless focus is on dividing Americans, and on tearing down rather than building back up this glorious nation.” (Feb 2016)
  • Former Gov. Rick Perry: “Let no one be mistaken – Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” (Jul 2015)
  • Former Rep. Todd Rokita: “… someone who is vulgar, if not profane.” (Feb 2016)
  • Former FL Ag. Comm. Adam Putnam: “He keeps running his mouth about the most ridiculous things…” and “Even by the base standards of this campaign.
  • OH Sec’y. of State Frank LaRose: “I like the idea of a president that’s a role model for our children. Our current president doesn’t really fall into that category.” (Aug 2018)

This is the man the GOP wants to return to the White House in 2020. The man of whom Barbara Bush – the Republican’s Republican – said after election day, “I woke up and discovered, to my horror, that Trump had won.”

Let’s close with an observation from John McCain. McCain flew 23 missions over North Viet Nam before being shot down and taken prisoner…

“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never, ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America, and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

 

Leading Republicans Speak Their Minds on Trump

Republicans complain the Left trash-talks Trump. “How could you?” they exclaim as they clutch at their hearts and stagger in feigned shock.

Never mind how their boy publicly runs down anyone who disagrees with him. And has a history of making misogynistic and openly racist comments.

Now he’s calling himself “the chosen one.” And accepting praise as “the King of Israel” and “the Second Coming.”

Time for someone to take Deluded Donnie down a peg or two. And who better than his allies? Note: About half of these date from after the 2016 election…

  • Lindsay Graham: “I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.” (Feb 2016)
  • Ted Cruz: “This man is a pathological liar, he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies…” (May 2016)
  • Marco Rubio: “We cannot have a commander-in-chief that is not ready the first day in office.” (Feb 2016)
  • The late Sen. John McCain: “The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate.” (Jul 2018)
  • Mitt Romney: “On balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.” (Jan 2019)
  • Former Sen. Bob Corker: “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful…” (Aug 2017)
  • Rand Paul: “Conservatives have to decide if he’s a fake conservative or not. And I think truly he is a fake conservative, because he’s been on every side of every issue in the last five years.” (Aug 2015)
  • Former Gov. John Kasich: “The things that have swirled around this White House are the reasons that caused me not to move forward and support him… also there wasn’t a real grasp on the issues that I think are so important.” (May 2017)
  • Former Gov. Judd Gregg: “Generating confusion is not a track that leads to making America great again. Rather, it takes us down a road that diminishes our international reputation.” (Jun 2017)
  • Susan Collins: “Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country.” (Aug 2016)
  • Republican Strategist Ana Navarro-Cardenas: “Then… you realize just how much he is diminishing the presidency of the United States… He is embarrassing. He is shameful. He is disgusting.” (June 2017)
  • Former Sen. Jeff Flake: “The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined… by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters… is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.” (Oct 2017)
  • Ben Sasse: “Mr. Trump’s relentless focus is on dividing Americans, and on tearing down rather than building back up this glorious nation.” (Feb 2016)
  • Former Gov. Rick Perry: “Let no one be mistaken – Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” (Jul 2015)
  • Former Rep. Todd Rokita: “… someone who is vulgar, if not profane.” (Feb 2016)
  • Former FL Ag. Comm. Adam Putnam: “He keeps running his mouth about the most ridiculous things…” and “Even by the base standards of this campaign season, his comments were vile and obscene.” (Both in 2016)
  • OH Sec’y. of State Frank LaRose: “I like the idea of a president that’s a role model for our children. Our current president doesn’t really fall into that category.” (Aug 2018)

This is the man the GOP wants to return to the White House in 2020. The man of whom Barbara Bush – the Republican’s Republican – said after election day, “I woke up and discovered, to my horror, that Trump had won.”

Let’s close with an observation from John McCain. McCain flew 23 missions over North Viet Nam before being shot down and taken prisoner…

“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never, ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America, and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”