It’s fitting that President-elect Donald Trump ran on “draining the swamp” and is now filling his cabinet with ultra wealthy donors to his campaign. This is the Donald Trump we saw on the campaign trail, the Orwellian speaker who uses showmanship to label things the opposite of what they are.
A Center for Public Integrity analysis of new FEC campaign finance disclosures revealed that Trump is “rewarding some of his biggest campaign bankrollers with unparalleled access, influence, prestige and power in his presidential administration-in-waiting.”
These are people whose “fortunes are greatly affected by government decisions,” being put in charge of government decisions. Fox guarding the henhouse. “17 ultra-wealthy Americans — the majority are billionaires whose fortunes are greatly affected by government decisions — contributed at least $1 million to the Republican’s presidential campaign and political efforts supporting Trump’s bid, the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis shows.”
How much does it cost to buy access to make policy to benefit your interests in the Trump administration? Roughly $12 million, so a great signal that the Trump administration isn’t open for the American Dream of upward mobility.
A Washington Post analysis of federal campaign filings showed, “Together with their families, Trump’s nominees gave $11.6 million to support his presidential bid, his allied super PACs and the Republican National Committee… With his choice of restaurant executive Andrew Puzder to serve as his Labor secretary, President-elect Donald Trump has now tapped six big donors and fundraisers to serve in his administration, lining up an unprecedented concentration of wealthy backers for top posts.”
But this is just normal quid pro quo from the guy who ran as an outsider, right? I mean, this isn’t worse than what other “politicians” (read with a sneer) do, right?
Those “politicians” so derided by the Right wing that supported Donald Trump did not fill their cabinet with donors who were given access to make policy over the very sectors they have the most financial interest in. They might have been given other kinds of access or a diplomatic job in Paris, but they weren’t put in charge of policy.
Keep in mind that Trump’s biggest charge against Clinton was that she was “corrupt” and providing access while serving as Secretary of State. But Trump has basically charged money directly for access, not just to have a chat with him and be heard, but to actually make policy.
“In the past, they were a little hidden — they were sent overseas to be ambassadors,” David Donnelly, president of Every Voice, told the Washington Post. “In this administration, they are going to be front and center making policy.”
Perhaps Trump excuses this blatant access because they are private sector “success” stories, but of course government regulates the private sector and so to hand over the oversight keys to the people being overseen is not exactly draining the swamp. It’s more like elevating the dredges.
It’s also like pretending that running a successful corporation is the same as running a government agency. It is not, as government was intended to serve the people, not the profit motive. Only people who only care about the profit motive try to justify using government to hurt the people in order to help corporations.
Not everyone does it. In fact, Donald Trump drained the swamp so he could fill it with the dredges. A Trump supporter told me today that she didn’t care if he appointed drunks to make policy decisions for us, so long as they got things done. Well yes, they will get things done for corporate America no doubt.
But isn’t America more than corporate America? What about the people. The people the government is supposed to serve.