Much is being written about President-elect Donald Trump’s early jobs wins: Carrier, SoftBank, etc. Before that, much was also written about Trump’s promise to drain the swamp. It appears that like Trump’s success with keeping jobs from leaving the country, he is already having success in draining the swamp by disrupting the DC influence peddling system.
It’s uncommon for a new president’s agenda to start bearing fruit before he even takes office. But if this presidential election taught us anything, it’s that Trump is an uncommon guy.
Are we also beginning to see the Trump agenda restructure entrenched special interests in Washington? It has become a cliché to say “Washington is broken” or “the system is rigged.” And yet, no politician has ever endeavored seriously to fix it.
But just the fact that Trump stood by his promise to drain the swamp after his original Chris Christie-led transition team was packed with lobbyists and interest advocates, appears to be rattling some big lobbying interests.
Nowhere has that been clearer over the last week than in the healthcare space. According to the Wall Street Journal, the American Medical Association faced an “internal and social media revolt” over its “anodyne statement” after President-elect Trump announced his intention to nominate Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services:
Meanwhile, the American Medical Association is facing an internal and social-media revolt over an anodyne statement that called Mr. Price “a leader in the development of health policies to advance patient choice and market-based solutions as well as reduce excessive regulatory burdens.” Supposedly this was a betrayal of doctors and patients, or something, but the big health-care societies always cater to power. They do so because so much of medicine is decided by government.
The Journal’s reference is to an online petition pushed by the Clinician Action Network to other physicians declaring that “The AMA Does Not Speak for Us.” More than 5,000 physicians have signed the petition. That is to say, over 5,000 physicians are speaking out against the major trade association that represents their interests, or lobbies, in Washington.
This is one disruptive effect of Trump in action. Perhaps, in the same manner in which he has remade Republican politics and the national electoral map, the idea of a president who actually works to fix the broken or rigged system will help restructure the influence industry in our nation’s capital.
Draining the swamp is an integral part of Trump’s Contract With the American Voter — his plan for the first hundred days of his presidency. The contract includes four items related to draining the swamp, or as Conway put it today, ending the corruption gravy train. First there are three things Trump’s contract says he will do on day one of his presidency:
- FOURTH, a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service;
- FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government;
- SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.
In addition, one of the 10 bills he will have introduced during the first 100 days is the Clean up Corruption in Washington Act. That legislation will enact new ethics reforms to Drain the Swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.
It appears that contrary to the assertion of Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s “FU” slap in the face to President-Elect Trump selection to be the next head of the Democratic National Committee, there will be fewer, not more swamp creatures rigging the system during the Trump presidency.
As Trump Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway put it, the corruption gravy train is over. Remember, Trump hasn’t even taken office yet.