Drain the Swamp, President-Elect Trump

Elizabeth Warren

Last week Hillary Clinton got about a million more votes than Donald Trump.

And yet, here we are. Donald Trump won the presidency. Across the nation, everyone is wondering what happens next.

It’s barely a week, and we’ve already seen disgusting ideas emerging from Trump Tower.

  • Put a white supremacist in the White House.
  • Float a plan to register all Muslim Americans.
  • Draw up plans to round up millions of human beings and rip families apart.

It’s sickening — and we will fight back.

But, hey, at least he promised to shake up our corrupt political system, right? After all, when President-Elect Trump announced his campaign, he called out politicians who were “controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors, and by the special interests.”

When he accepted his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention, he said, “[w]hen innocent people suffer, because our political system [. . .] has sold out to some corporate lobbyist for cash — I am not able to look the other way.” He promised that he would “not be controlled by the donors, special interests and lobbyists who have corrupted our politics and politicians for far too long,” and that he would “drain the swamp” in Washington D.C. Those are his words, repeated long and loud during the campaign.

President-Elect Trump has now named most of his transition team. So, how is he doing on his rock-solid, double-down promise to get rid of the special interests and lobbyists?

Big surprise. Trump is not “draining the swamp.” Nope, he’s inviting the biggest, ugliest swamp monsters in the front door, and he’s turning them loose on our government and our economy. In just one week, the President-Elect has elevated a slew of Wall Street bankers, industry insiders, and special interest lobbyists to run the show on his transition team. Let’s just run through a few examples.

  • The guy in charge of staffing the Federal Communications Commission was on Verizon’s payroll and has produced “studies” aimed at knee-capping net neutrality rules.
  • The guy in charge of picking the team that will decide energy policy in a Trump administration is a lobbyist for the oil and gas industry.
  • The guy picked to staff up the Department of Agriculture is a “veteran food and agriculture lobbyist” whose firm has earned millions representing the food industry.
  • The guy leading the transition for the Environmental Protection Agency has been paid by the oil industry and denies that climate change is real.
  • The guy heading up the transition team for the Social Security Administration is — you guessed it — a former lobbyist who has spent much of his career working to cut and privatize the Social Security system.
  • The guy — by the way, I don’t know if you’ve noticed a pattern here, but they’re almost all “guys” — working on transportation and infrastructure is a founding partner at a law firm that lobbies for the National Asphalt Pavement Association.
  • The guy in charge of economic issues for the Trump transition team served for six years as chief economist at Bear Stearns — the Wall Street firm that helped crash our economy in 2008 — and now runs a consulting firm for Wall Street clients.

Trump’s very first decision is to hand over the keys of government to the worst kind of D.C. insiders and special interests. It seems like all those promises to stand up for working people were just a giant con.

As the outrage has spread, we’ve heard reports that Vice President-Elect Mike Pence decided to remove all lobbyists from the transition team. Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it. If we learned anything from the campaign, it’s that Team Trump will make things up if it seems convenient. Last night we had already heard another version of the story: lobbyists can come on board, but only if they drop their formal registration when they join the team. Swamp monsters today, swamp monsters wearing clean shirts and ties for the transition team tomorrow, and swamp monsters again the next day.

Putting a clean shirt on a swamp monster doesn’t change anything. They have already had ample opportunity to stuff transition plans with ideas that will be good for their well-connected clients, and disastrous for everyone else.

Besides, even if the lobbyists had to finish up and leave early, the Trump transition team is still full of industry insiders seeking special deals for themselves and their companies. This isn’t subtle, and you don’t take my word for it. Here’s how Politico put it this morning: “A populist candidate who railed against shady financial interests on the campaign trail is now putting together an administration that looks like an investment banker’s dream.” In the same article, one historian said, “you would have to go back to the 1920s to see so much Wall Street influence coming to Washington.”

So what happened? How come the guy who spent the election tweeting, “I’m not controlled by lobbyists or special interests” is stuffing his transition team full of lobbyists and special interests?

When you ask the President-Elect about his flip-flop, he says he needs lobbyists on his team because “they know the system.” He said, “everybody’s a lobbyist” in D.C.

That’s literally the opposite of what he said during the campaign. And it’s not true. Many Americans — both inside and outside Washington — have the expertise to serve the American public without being bought and paid for by special interests.

Americans are angry about a federal government that works for the rich and powerful and that leaves everyone else in the dirt. Donald Trump knows that — he talked a good game during the campaign, and he promised to end this corruption. He promised to drain the swamp. And after one week, we’ve seen what the Donald Trump promise means — nothing. His word, his promise to the American people is worth nothing.

Well, Mr. President-Elect, let me be clear: I am ready to fight on behalf of the millions of Americans you have lied to. That includes the millions who voted for you — and the millions who didn’t.

Elizabeth Warren

Written by

United States Senator, Massachusetts

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