Donald Trump pledged to drain the swamp. Thousands of Americans chanted that three-word phrase. His surrogates took to television to pledge that Trump would do the same.
Trump’s latest moves do little to fulfill such pledges. In the past several days, Trump has done the following:
1. Goldman Sachs Former Soros Employee Steve Mnuchin Democratic Donor For Treasury Secretary. Steve Mnuchin has pledged to work to cut the corporate tax, but added that “there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class. Any tax cuts we have for the upper class will be offset by less deductions that pay for it.” During the campaign, Trump and company said that Ted Cruz’s wife working for Goldman Sachs was evidence of Wall Street corruption. Now Mnuchin will head the Treasury Department. Mnuchin also oversaw a company involved in some rather shady foreclosure practices. Why did Mnuchin back Trump? He said months ago, “Nobody’s going to be like, ‘Well, why did he do this’ if I end up in the administration.”
2. Democrat Wilbur Ross Jr. For Secretary Of Commerce. Ross is a career Democrat and billionaire investor. Ross helped Trump rebuild his failing casino empire in the 1990s. Ross has said America needs a “more radical, new approach to government” and opposes free trade. Ross was on the New York Democratic Committee and funded Bill Clinton.
3. Considering Goldman Sachs COO For Head Of Office of Management and Budget. Gary Cohn is the COO of Goldman Sachs, and was considered the heir to CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Cohn is another registered Democrat; he’s given money to Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Mark Warner (D-VA) and oodles of bucks to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
4. Mitch McConnell’s Wife For Secretary of Transportation. Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush, is Trump’s pick for Secretary of Transportation. That would be fine, except that one of the reasons for selecting Chao is specifically because McConnell is her husband, and Trump wants to ram through a trillion dollar infrastructure boondoggle. Who would preside over handling that money? Why, Elaine Chao!
5. Considering Mike McCaul For Homeland Security. Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) has been considered by the Trump team for Secretary of Homeland Security. Border hawks find him unpalatable, as The Washington Times reports. He even signed onto John Boehner’s path to citizenship plan in 2014.
Many conservatives also worry about Trump’s pick of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who is ardently anti-Obamacare but also has made nice with the establishment wing of the Republican Party. And commentators like Michelle Malkin have opposed new Secretary of Education pick Betsy Devos, whose family is steeped in political donations to the Republican Party.
None of this bodes well for Trump’s talk of draining the swamp. Instead, these new picks and possible picks look a good deal like every administration in Washington D.C. for the past few decades: stacked with insiders committed to cronyism.