Archive for Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Opinion: Trump’s swamp among the deepest ever

October 10, 2017

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Tom Price resigned his post as secretary of health and human services because the president didn’t like the optics of his using taxpayer money to fly in private jets to venues easily accessible by commercial flights — or even by car. But plenty of others in the administration have exercised similar bad judgment and are still on the job.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tried to commandeer a military plane for his honeymoon but was refused. However, he used a government plane to fly to Kentucky during the solar eclipse in August, with his wife in tow, ostensibly to visit Fort Knox. Mnuchin is worth nearly $400 million; if he wants to avoid commercial travel, he can afford to pay for private jets. That’s what Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos does. She owns her own plane, which she uses for official travel, and doesn’t charge the government a cent. Not so with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who is under investigation for chartering a private plane so he could fly from Las Vegas to his hometown in Montana and another one to fly between Caribbean islands to attend a ceremony honoring Denmark, even though commercial flights were available in both cases. And Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin took his wife along for a 10-day trip to Europe that included both government business and several days of sightseeing, with the taxpayers footing the bill for the secretary’s wife’s travel and per diem. Zinke and Shulkin are relative paupers among Trump’s Cabinet; Shulkin is worth about $17 million, and Zinke is worth just under $2 million. Forbes magazine estimates the Cabinet’s total net worth at $4.3 billion, the richest in modern history.

Trump’s Cabinet members aren’t the first in history to abuse their travel schedules, and the president did force Price to resign, though the failure of health care reform may have been the real impetus and the travel just a good excuse. However you look at it, Trump’s swamp is deeper than most administrations’. His own conflicts of interest are legion: His Washington hotel is a magnet for foreign governments and lobbyists trying to curry favor; his sons get Secret Service protection while they fly around the world attending to Daddy’s empire, at a cost of millions to the taxpayers; his daughter and her husband occupy prime West Wing offices without any experience or expertise to justify their expansive portfolios; and, despite promising to distance himself from managing his financial holdings, he reportedly gets frequent updates from his sons, which would be illegal for any other government official.

Trump’s supporters don’t seem to care. They still believe he’ll “drain the swamp” as he promised. I’m still waiting to learn what a deal breaker would look like to the most die-hard Trumpkins. Maybe there isn’t one for the one-third of voters who have been with him from the beginning. They’ve stuck by through Trump’s embarrassing lack of knowledge about policy. Remember the nuclear triad and the Quds Force? Trump had no clue about the former, which Sen. Marco Rubio gently schooled him on during the presidential debate, and now he commands the nuclear-armed submarines, bombers and ballistic missiles, which he could launch without any check on his power. As for the elite Iranian troops, they’ve killed Americans in Iraq and committed unspeakable crimes against the Syrian people, but has Trump ever learned the difference between the Quds Force and the Kurds, our allies in Iraq?

It might be one thing if his supporters could point to major achievements of this administration, but so far those achievements have been elusive. Yes, he got an excellent Supreme Court justice through confirmation, and his administration has made some important changes in regulatory policy. But there is no major legislation to point to, and he’s yet to learn how to use the power of the presidency to get his own party members in Congress to get things done.

Trump supporters may be willing to ignore the administration’s ethical failures, but Congress shouldn’t. And the broader American electorate will send the GOP a message in 2018 if things don’t change.

— Linda Chavez is a columnist with Creators Syndicate.

Comments

Larry Sturm 1 month, 1 week ago

Trump isn't draining the swamp he is just building the dam higher.

Bob Summers 1 month, 1 week ago

Linda Chavez is under the influence. She cannot begin to understand the "swamp" is people like her.

What do you expect her to say about Trump? Something factual? She, like the swamp people, live in fantasy.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 1 week ago

Bob...BOB!! You forgot to say......".LIBERAL, LIBERAL, LIBERAL!!!!!!!!!"

Bob Summers 1 month, 1 week ago

Why do I need to when I have you to say it. You are finally understanding the condition that dictates the antithesis of civil behavior.

Thanks!

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 1 week ago

"Trump’s supporters don’t seem to care." You got it!! There are those including some on this forum who will support the incompetent, debauched, unelected phony "President of the United States" without reserve or reason....

sort of odd for an editorial in this Republican news rag.

Brock Masters 1 month, 1 week ago

Bless Trump as he triumphantly makes,America great again.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 1 week ago

NEWS FLASH..... NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!!!

CHUMP IS GOING TO FIX OBAMACARE WITH AN ECECUTIVE ORDER!!!!!!!!!

JUST LIKE THE EXECUTIVE ORDERS THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA USED AND CHUMP HAS ATTACKED REPEATEDLY

DON'T GET SICK!!! DON'T GET SICK!!!!

Deanna Tow 1 month, 1 week ago

Are you kidding me? Total hypocracy is surprising you at this juncture?

Deanna Tow 1 month, 1 week ago

Well, I must say, as illequipped as Devos is for her position, as least she is not a crook! Cheers. That being said, the rest of them see our government as their personal ATM machine. They didn't all just come up with this idea in their head. When they being hired, they were told they could do this!! Those are my feelings. Probably from the uber genius in the WH. You know the one whose IQ is up there with Stephan Hawking! Well, in his twisted liddle mind it is, anyway!\

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