“Drain the swamp!” was a frequent chant at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies. Then there was an election, and we have the swampiest administration seen in decades, if not ever.
Creatures from the Swamp
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt spent $25,000 on a sound proof phone booth in his office. He took a $40,000 tax-payer paid trip to Morocco to explain the benefits of importing liquid natural gas from the USA. Turns out there’s only one liquid natural gas exporter in the USA, and Scott Pruitt has been living in a condo owned by that company’s lobbyist. And what does this have to do with the Environmental Protection Agency in the first place? Pruitt, by the way, flies first class on our dime because he needs the extra “security” provided by first class.
Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, spent $53,000 on three helicopter trips last year, including one to go horseback riding with Vice President Pence. On another occasion he spent $12,000 for a single charter plane flight from Las Vegas to Montana. By the way, Zinke requires that his “secretarial flag” be raised on the flagpole of his building when he is in the office and taken down when he leaves.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned after spending at least $400,000 on private jet trips for himself and his staff.
In other swamp drainage news, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin spent $800,000 on military plane trips when he could have flown on airlines for $20,000. He requested a military plane for his honeymoon in Europe, but changed his mind when the media (taxpayers) got wind of his greed. He took a government plane to Kentucky for a day trip to watch the solar eclipse. His wife posted a picture of them getting off the plane on Instagram, saying, “Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #countryside #rolandmouret pants, #tomford sunnies, #hermesscarf #valentinorockstudheels #valentino #usa.” The items you might not recognize are designer clothing.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was stopped before spending $31,000 of taxpayer money for a new dining set. Carson blamed his wife.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior advisor, met in the White House with two large financial companies (Apollo and Citigroup) to allegedly discuss infrastructure and trade policy. After the meetings, Kushner’s private companies received very large loans from both institutions.
The Swamp Master
No one is surprised by the above, except, apparently, most of the people who voted for Trump. They didn’t notice his history of bankruptcies, of stiffing his contractors, of turning to Russian oligarchs for funding his projects, and settling a $25,000 lawsuit brought by thousands of students who’d been defrauded by a scam called “Trump University.” I guess these voters also didn’t notice Trump’s many years of stupidly claiming Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
But now his character must be well-known to even those who supported him, right? I mean, he filled the government with industry lobbyists who now “regulate” the industries they used to work for. Then there are his relations with a porn star and a Playboy Playmate and the hush money,
He promoted and passed a tax bill that would benefit him personally. He even put the presidential seal on golf tee markers at Mar-a-Lago golf course! Called Vladimir Putin and said, in effect, “Congratulations on winning your phony election, come visit me at the White House, and … ha ha … are you going to poison anyone else?”
Haven’t yet mentioned his sliming of a U.S. judge because of his Mexican heritage, his “shithole” country remarks, his “grab them by the pussy” remarks, and his “very fine people on both sides” comment about a white nationalist event. Does anyone still vouch for his character?
It’s no surprise that he would hire like-minded people for his administration. We are deep in the swamp now, and will be lucky if we can get out.