How’s That Swamp Draining Coming Along?

Not so well, actually. In office less than 16 months, The Trump administration has seen an astonishing number of its upper-level people leave – many of them for ethical reasons, others because of competency concerns, and a few voluntarily.

First, those who chose to leave:

  • Chief economic advisor Gary Cohn – given a high-level job but never permitted to do anything; also, snubbed after joining the administration after being led to believe he would be the next Federal Reserve chairman. He lost that shot after he let it be known he was disgusted by the president’s response to the Charlottesville protest.
  • Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub, resigned after he realized his new employer has no ethical standards.

Next, those who were shown the door:

  • HHS Secretary Tom Price – questionable travel spending that led to his resignation.
  • Anthony Scaramucci – White House communications director, fired after ten days on the job for incompetence.
  • Press secretary Sean Spicer – blatant lying caused him to lose credibility.
  • National Security Advisor Michael Flynn – pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian government officials.
  • White House staff secretary Rob Porter – beating up on women.
  • Personal aide to the president John McEntee – gambling problems.
  • National Security Advisor W.R. McMaster – fired because of a different kind of competency concern: he is, and that concerned the president.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – honest but not competent and made the mistake of not socializing with the president. Also, for defending the Boy Scouts.
  • Communications director Hope Hicks – resigned after telling a congressional committee she lies on the president’s behalf.
  • Omarosa Manigault-Newman – fired after the chief of staff learned she didn’t actually do anything and was what people used to call a “patronage employee.”
  • Deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka – fired.
  • Chief strategist Steve Bannon – fired for taking credit for the ideas he gave to the president.
  • Chief of staff Reince Priebus – fired for incompetence.
  • FBI director James Comey – fired for not being willing to pledge his loyalty to the president and ending investigations of the president’s supporters.
  • FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe – fired because his wife ran for public office as a Democrat.
  • Under-secretary of state for Steve Goldstein – fired for telling the truth in response to questions from the press.
  • Chief White House usher Angella Reid – fired because she was hired by a Democrat and that’s reason enough.
  • VA Secretary David Shulkin – questionable travel practices and misleading government investigators and, apparently, inciting an unprecedented mutiny among members of his staff.
  • U.S. Forest Service chief Tony Tooke, because of an alleged history of sexual harassment, abuse, and retaliation while working in other jobs.

Finally, those who are on thin ice right now and could be gone any day:

  • EPA administrator Scott Pruitt – questionable travel spending and, just last week, news that he’s accepting practically free overnight accommodations from a lobbyist.
  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson – steering business to his family, giving his family advantages in business dealings, and approving the purchase of a $31,000 dining room table, in violation of federal purchasing guidelines.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin – questionable travel spending.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions – lying on forms disclosing contacts with foreign officials and lying to Congress.
  • Jared Kushner – lying on forms disclosing contacts with foreign officials on numerous occasions and lying about his personal financial assets. Also, new suspicions about massive loans his family’s business have obtained.
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – questionable travel spending.
  • Chief of staff John Kelly – lying about what he knew and when he knew about the inappropriate behavior of former White House staffer Rob Porter and ordering other White House staffers to lie about what he knew and when he knew it. Also, seeks to instill discipline in the White House staff.

This isn’t draining the swamp: it’s restocking it with even more venal swamp things (like John Bolton, who’s spent most of his adult life in the swamp).

 

 

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