Who will get richer?: “After attacking Democrat Hillary Clinton regularly throughout the campaign for being too close to Wall Street banks, Trump has put three former Goldman Sachs executives in prominent White House positions, including Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary, Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist and Gary Cohn as the director of the National Economic Council.”

21 Dec

Gingrich: Trump backing away from ‘drain the swamp’

President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington of corruption, but now that he’s preparing to move into the White House, Newt Gingrich said the Manhattan real estate mogul is looking to distance himself from that message.

“I’m told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore,” the former House Speaker and close Trump adviser said of the “drain the swamp” message in an NPR interview published Wednesday morning. “I’ve noticed on a couple of fronts, like people chanting ‘Lock her up,’ that he’s in a different role now and maybe he feels that as president, as the next president of the United States, that he should be marginally more dignified than talking about alligators in swamps.”

While Trump made his “drain the swamp” pledge a major part of his campaign message in the final weeks of the presidential race, his transition team was, in its early days after the election, packed with lobbyists for the pharmaceutical, chemical, fossil fuel and tobacco industries. Under pressure, Trump’s team instituted a rigid lobbying ban that prompted some to leave, but the group orchestrating the president-elect’s transition still relies heavily on GOP insiders.

Trump’s Cabinet and other high-level appointments seem to have deviated somewhat from his “drain the swamp” message. After attacking Democrat Hillary Clinton regularly throughout the campaign for being too close to Wall Street banks, Trump has put three former Goldman Sachs executives in prominent White House positions, including Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary, Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist and Gary Cohn as the director of the National Economic Council.

Gingrich also suggested that Trump should quickly find a transparent solution to concerns about conflicts of interest between his presidency and the massive business empire he has pledged to hand over to his kids once he takes office. The former House speaker said putting such complex assets into a blind trust, the arrangement generally promised by presidents, would be “an absurdity” for Trump but that some other “common-sense” arrangement will be necessary.

“This is not a country that wanders around trusting people with power. This is a country that wants accountability,” Gingrich said. “He has to understand and his family has to understand that there is a public interest which transcends them.”

As a solution, Gingrich suggested that Trump appoint a panel of experts that would have “total access” to oversee his assets and advise him as to what is appropriate and what is not. That panel could be populated by individuals like former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Gingrich said.

“A large part of his holdings are Trump golf clubs, Trump hotels,” the former speaker said. “I mean, we have never quite had anyone of this scale to occupy the White House and it’s going to require us to think about, how do you deal with this in a way that’s effective and that serves the interest of the country, but also meets some kind of practical common-sense test?”

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