“These proposals, when they say nothing about the man at the top, will accomplish very little. They are as good as the Enron Code of Ethics.”

Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer in W’s administration

The majority of the American public does not view Donald Trump as a very good person. Per Gallup, only 36% of those surveyed find him likeable. But even more telling only 40% find him honest and trustworthy and only 45% believe he keeps his promises. Here’s a good example of why.  

When he was running for President in 2016, Trump told the American people he would bring ethics back into government. He proposed Congressional term limits. Also, lobbying restrictions such as 5-year bans on retired Feds lobbying, permanent restrictions on Feds lobbying for foreign nations, and tougher definitions as to “what is a lobbyist.”  

It comes as no surprise that none of these were ever enacted via Executive Order or formally brought to a Congressional vote, even when the GOP controlled all branches of government. So much for Trump’s promises. 

Of course, as Richard Painter pointed out, Trump never proposed any restrictions on himself. He never even agreed to provide us with his tax returns, something every modern President has done, even that paragon of virtue, Richard Nixon. He also refused to put his assets into a blind trust, having them managed by third parties. Instead, his family remained directly in control, posing a million and one obvious financial conflicts of interest over the last four years. Someday we may find out how much money they all gained as a result of the Trump Presidency. 

But the sleaze goes far beyond Trump’s personal gain or lobbying. It’s been clear that Trump flooded the Washington swamp with more and more slimy creatures of the dark night. To commemorate his departure, I’ve decided that we should have a send-off for the denizens of the “Trump Swamp.” You may well be seeing additional “tributes” in coming months. There are many well-known figures who could be included in my tributes. After all, who can forget: 

  • Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager. As soon as Trump was elected, Corey proceeded to set up his lobbying company a block away from the White House. 
  • Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the vice chair of the Trump transition and National Security Advisor. Flynn also ran a consulting firm that lobbied for Turkish government defense priorities. He lied to the FBI about his conduct, pled guilty and was pardoned by Trump. 
  • Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator. Pruitt decided his position afforded him an unlimited expense account with lavish expenditures and a ridiculously over-blown personal security guard detail. Nothing was too expensive for Pruitt so long as the taxpayer picked up the bills, including private jets and $100 fountain pens. 
  • Tom Price, Secretary of DHHS. Georgia boy Price had a great time on our dollars. He wanted to make sure that he beat Pruitt on the wasted public money scale, so he spent over $1 million on private jets and military aircraft. As comedian Mel Brooks once said, “it’s nice to be king.”

There are just so many more Trump appointees of sterling character that I can’t list them in this one column. But I will be writing about them as time goes on. 

The Americans for Prosperity is a misnamed Koch Brothers outfit designed to push their self-serving libertarian ideas. It’s leader once said about the 2016 election – “A lot of people voted Republican because they want to see a change in business as usual in Washington.” But what they got was just more of the same, only worse, over the last four years. 

As PT Barnum, obviously Trump’s role model, once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” In this last election, there were over 70 million all of whom voted for the Donald. 

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Image Credit: the photo presumed to be Donald Trump under the swamp water is one of those photos that has been used without attribution or as a free download so many times, we just don't know who created. Should we find out proper attribution, we would, of course, give attribution, attempt to license or take down.

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.