The chant echoed through Donald Trump’s boisterous rallies leading up to Election Day: “Drain the swamp! Drain the swamp! Drain the swamp!”
“We are fighting for every citizen that believes that government should serve the people, not the donors and not the special interests,” the billionaire real estate developer promised exuberant supporters at his last campaign rally in Manchester, N.H.
But just days later, there is little evidence that the president-elect is seeking to restrain wealthy interests from having access and influence in his administration.
It’s not just corporate lobbyists who are playing early, visible roles in the new power structure. Some of Trump’s biggest political donors are shaping the incoming administration, including Rebekah Mercer, a daughter of billionaire Robert Mercer, who is figuring prominently in behind-the-scenes discussions, according to people familiar with the transition.
Mercer is among four major donors appointed by Trump Friday to a 16-person executive committee overseeing his transition. The others are campaign finance chairman Steven Mnuchin, New York financier Anthony Scaramucci and Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel.
Meanwhile, top campaign fundraisers and a raft of lobbyists tied to some of the country’s wealthiest industries have been put in charge of hiring and planning for specific federal agencies. They include J. Steven Hart, chairman of the law and lobbying shop Williams & Jensen; Michael McKenna, an energy company lobbyist who is overseeing planning for the Energy Department; and Dallas fundraiser Ray Washburne, was has been tapped to oversee the Commerce Department.
Billionaires who served as Trump’s policy advisers, such as Oklahoma oil executive Harold Hamm, are under consideration for Cabinet positions.
– Donors and lobbyists already shaping Trump’s ‘drain the swamp’ administration, Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger, Washington Post, today
Why not begin this in, say, Youngstown? With people who display their driver’s licenses bearing their Ohio addresses?
Funny what doormats Trump & Friends think Democrats are that next election they won’t campaign on this. On second thought, why would they care? The damage will be done by then, and Trump will still be president anyway.
But Sanders and Warren and others still need to start telling the public about this now, since it will otherwise get no attention even if the news media does focus on this like they did on Clinton’s emails. Which they won’t.
Asked about the tensions, and about Kushner’s role in the leadership change at the transition team, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said, “Anybody seeing today’s news about the appointment of Vice President-elect Mike Pence to run the Presidential Transition Team realizes that President-elect Donald J. Trump is serious about changing Washington whether the town likes it or not. This might ruffle the delicate sensitivities of the well-heeled two-martini lunch set, but President-elect Trump isn’t fighting for them, he’s fighting for the hard-working men and women outside the Beltway who don’t care for insider bickering.”
It’s not uncommon for rivalries to emerge inside campaigns and administrations as advisers jockey to place allies in key roles and advance their policy priorities. But the level of internecine conflict during Trump’s drive toward the GOP nomination was so extreme that it sometimes resulted in conflicting directives for even simple hiring and spending decisions.
– Trump team rivalries spark infighting, Kenneth P. Vogel, Nancy Cook and Alex Isenstadt, Politico, late last night
This is about as Orwellian as anything I’ve ever heard. This is profoundly sick.
I’m done posting on this. There’s nothing more for me to say. Other than this: Does anyone really think that the public would not have known about these people and their role in funding Trump’s campaign and their getting what they were paying for, if Sanders had been the nominee?