Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Your swamp water is served

Did I hear Donald Trump say that someone in Washington should resign because of an unsubstantiated claim?

Yes I did. He tweeted that Montana Sen. John Tester, a Democrat, should resign over claims that may or may not hold water regarding the bizarro comportment of Trump's choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, the dearly departed Ronny Jackson.

Mr. President, if one were required to turn in his Capitol badge over an unsubstantiated claim, you wouldn't have served past "biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan" and "illegal voters brought in on buses" in New Hampshire.

If either of those charges didn't stick, you would have had to resign each day thereafter, and today, and no doubt tomorrow when next your tweeting finger itches.

There are two classes of pathological liars – 1. all of them before and since Donald J. Trump, and 2. Donald J. Trump. When it comes to lying, he is in a class by himself.

There's something else in which the Trump Administration is achieving a singular distinction: garden-variety corruption.

In one of those moments when someone in the Trump Administration committed the firing offense of truth, director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney told a group of bankers that when he served in Congress he had a rule for any meeting with a lobbyist. It was contingent on a payment to his re-election campaign. Without payment, no meeting.

This is how Donald Trump has "drained the swamp."

Yes, he talked and talked about changing the way things were done in Washington, about how he wouldn't be swayed by big-money interests, how he would turn away the entreaties of Wall Street, unlike, say, Hillary Clinton.

Well, look at what's happened. One of his first acts of business was to lie down for Wall Street and dynamite the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, appointing none other than the sainted Mulvaney to do it.

An enemy of big lenders? Trump is Wall Street's dream come true.

No, what we are seeing is the most corrupt administration since . . . maybe since the coining of American currency.

A lot of attention has been directed at the excesses of Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, with his $40,000 sound-proof room, his $3 million in security costs, his comfy-cozy apartment provided at $50 a night by a lobbyist.

This is just about a man wasting tax dollars for his own comfort and aggrandizement. Far worse is his devoted servitude to oil and gas interests, another word for polluters.

Consider the issue of methane pollution and the Obama administration's requirement that oil and gas producers capture escaping greenhouse gas rather than venting or "flaring" it.

Pruitt has acted to set aside that requirement at the bidding of industry, particularly petroleum giant Devon Energy from Pruitt's home state of Oklahoma, and anything done by Koch Industries.

Emails released under court order show that Pruitt's relationship with the oil industry is basically that he does what it says.

As Politico reports, Devon Energy "authored a letter on methane emissions that Pruitt largely copied and sent to the EPA."

Methane, by the way, is swamp gas.

So, what exactly did Trump mean when he said, "Drain the swamp"? He certainly didn't mean removing the influence of lobbyists and all the usual corrupters of government.

Apparently he meant purging Washington of people who actually had an eye out for the public welfare in lieu of bringing in moneyed interests, like Trump himself, to control the government.

Those who thought Trump would actually be an agent against corruption bought a mossy, smelly basin of green slime. Drink up, folks.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:

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