Drain the Trump Swamp

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There is no campaign promise that Donald Trump has failed to honour more flagrantly than his repeated pledge to “drain the swamp”

Drain the Donald Trump Swamp DTS. APT Donald Trump caricature

As a candidate Trump promised to “Drain the Swamp” and to take a hard line on lobbyists, which he promised would not form part of his administration.

On October 19 2016 trump, tweeted “I will issue a lifetime ban against senior executive branch officials lobbying on behalf of a FOREIGN GOVENRMENT.”

Donald Trump quote - “I will issue a lifetime ban against senior executive branch officials lobbying on behalf of a FOREIGN GOVENRMENT.”. Donald trump Caricature APT

Since becoming president, Trump has not just failed to honour his pledge to “Drain the Swamp” he has in fact created his own swamp.

The following list are examples where Trump has failed to live up to this promise:

1. Trump promised to hand over control of business and have no interaction, Eric Trump contradicts this

Trump stated that he would put Donald Trump Jnr and Eric Trump in charge of his businesses, “I hope at the end of eight years I’ll come back and say, ‘Oh you did a good job.’” In an interview with Forbes Forbes – Interview with Eric trump, Eric trump did however state that he would be updating his father on the business “Yeah, on the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that, but you know, that’s about it.” How often will those reports be, every quarter? “Depending, yeah, depending.” Could be more, could be less? “Yeah, probably quarterly.” One thing is clear: “My father and I are very close,” Eric Trump says. “I talk to him a lot. We’re pretty inseparable.” ProPublica interviewed Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten, Garten confirmed that President Trump can withdraw profits and underlying assets from his trust at any time. He also said the president has been able to withdraw money since Trump took office ProPublica – Information on Trump trust. The trust is a far cry from a prior statement by Trump’s lawyers that he was “completely isolating himself from his business interests.”

2. Trump promised lobbyists would not form part of his government but appointed former lobbyists and needed to grant ethics waivers to 17 appointees

On June 1 2017, The White House has disclosed that it has granted ethics waivers to 17 appointees who work for Trump and Pence.

The waivers exempt the appointees from certain parts of the ethics rules aimed at avoiding potential conflicts of interest. The White House counsel’s office wrote that the administration had the need for the appointee’s expertise on certain issues.

Individuals who received waivers were:

  • White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
  • Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway
  • Senior Strategist Stephen Bannon
  • Three former lobbyists who serve as staffers to the National Economic Council, headed by Gary Cohn
  • Domestic Energy and Environmental policy advisor Michael Catanzaro
  • White House adviser on tax and retirement policy Shahira Knight
  • Financial policy adviser Andrew Olmem
  • Chief of Staff to Pence Joshua Pitcock
  • Six members of the White house counsel’s office including counsel Donald McGahn
  • President’s Commission on White House Fellowships Richard Holht, who is still a registered agent of Saudi Arabia and has earned roughly $430,000 from the government’s foreign ministry since January

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters stated “The White House Counsel’s Office worked closely with all White House officials to avoid conflicts arising from their former places of employment or investment holdings,” later adding “To the furthest extent possible, counsel worked with each staffer to recuse from conflicting conduct rather than being granted waivers, which has led to the limited number of waivers being issued.”

3. Trump uses foreign government entities in his business despite promising not to

Donald Trump had pledged that his family business would not engage in any transactions with foreign government entities while he serves as president. Trump’s business partner, DAMAC Properties, awarded a $32-million contract to the Middle East subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) to build a 6.4km six-lane road as part of the residential development of the Trump World Golf Club Dubai project called Akoya Oxygen DAMAC Properties press release.

4. Trump uses campaign and Republican national Committee funds to pay legal bills from Russia probe

CNN reported that the Republican National Committee paid in August more than $230,000 to cover some of Trump’s legal fees related to the probe. While previous presidential campaigns have used these funds to pay for routine legal matters such as ballot access disputes and compliance requirements, Trump is the first U.S. president in the modern campaign finance era to use such funds to cover the costs of responding to a criminal probe, said election law experts. In October Trump put almost $500,000 of his own money towards the legal bills of his administration staff and campaign aides who are embroiled in the Russia investigation. Trump has reportedly promised to use his personal finances to match the $430,000 paid by the Republican National Committee towards Mr Trump Jnr’s legal bills.

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