Football season has wrapped up, but I have a couple of comments on college ball as it pertains to the President.

I was not surprised to see the applause from the crowd at last month’s LSU/Clemson game. However, it reflects our region of the nation versus the USA as a whole.

Not only do Americans as a whole believe that Trump isn’t draining the swamp, more think he has abused his office than believe him innocent (53-38, per Fox survey). And, that was true even before the clearly inappropriate call to the President of the Ukraine, ended up with his impeachment. 

Nearly two thirds (64%) are convinced he is guilty of crimes before he became President. (Quinnipiac Poll, 3-5-19) Only his GOP base (strong in places like Alabama) believes him innocent (48% to 33%). Only 30% of all voters believe he is honest.

The Mueller report, now ignored, is too complex to address here. But one thing that was clear from it: Trump unethically (and almost certainly illegally) obstructed justice. Obstruction is not the way to drain the swamp. Neither are his appointments to key positions in his administration.

Because Ryan Zinke was forced to resign due to ethics (travel, unsavory business deals) problems, a new Interior Department Secretary was needed. Guess who our “drain the swamp” President picked? David Bernhardt, who was a lobbyist who represented Eni Petroleum and Sempra Energy, among many others. What a surprise!

According to Inside Climate News, last year: “Bernhardt met with senior executives of ExxonMobil and with the head of the oil industry’s chief lobby group, the American Petroleum Institute, and visited the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Institute” in order to promote a fossil fuel based policy for the Trump administration, which denies climate change and humanities role in it (despite the indisputable scientific consensus). According to the same source, 16 of Bernhardt’s former oil, gas and mining clients have suggested or pushed for self-interested policy initiatives (19 of them) that are being fast tracked. 

This is the official supposed to defend the public interest versus special corporate interests. Judge for yourself if that’s happening.

Swamp creatures in mortal combat with the "Man of the Moonlight"

But this is clearly a pattern with this Administration, which has been flooding the swamp rather than draining it. For example, we have these Cabinet stalwarts, all of whom resigned under pressure:

  • Scott Pruitt, former EPA Administrator, placed a sound proof phone booth in his office at a cost to US taxpayers of $43,000. He also wasted $168,000 on first class, charter and military flights.
  • Tom Price, former Sec. of DHHS, has a history of investing in firms he was legislating. He also wasted money on travel, nearly a million dollars.

And, then there are the Cabinet folks still there who are happily still swimming around in the ever-growing Trump swamp:

  • Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Sec., who wasted $800,000 on 7 (that’s not a typo) trips by traveling on military jets.
  • Ben Carson, Sec of HUD, whose wife got a sweetheart half million-dollar sole source contract from DHHS. 
  • Wilbur Ross, Commerce Sec., who had undisclosed dealings with Russian oligarchs close to Putin. He is also is famous for saying he can’t understand why federal workers not getting paychecks can’t just get loans to pay their bills.
  • Betsy DeVos, Sec. of Education, who still has holdings of between $15 million and $25 million in Neuropore, a company involved with children with disorders like autism and hyperactivity which affect their learning capabilities.

Then we have the many others who have been a part of this administration, the 2016 Presidential campaign or have otherwise gotten to be Mueller targets and who therefore richly deserve the ubiquitous (these days anyway) title of “swamp dweller” (see VOX, 1-25-19). These Trump swamp dwellers and others were convicted or took a plea – Michael Cohen, General Flynn, Paul Manafort, Ric Gates, George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone, Alex van der Zwaan, and Richard Pinedo.

A former Georgia Republican County Chair, I left the GOP because of Trump. He has violated every principle that the GOP once held dear including clean government, executive transparency, leadership and a balanced budget. Eventually, even if it’s after he leaves office, Trump will be held to account for his misdeeds, including the vindictive removal of Colonel Vindman and Ambassador Sondland.

Trump no longer uses the phrase “lock’em up” at his rallies. I have no idea why, do you?


Image Credit: The Heap in mortal combat with the "Man of the Moonlight" on the cover of Airboy Comics, vol. 9 #5 (June 1952). – artwork by Ernest Schroeder – via (public domain).

Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.