Markos Moulitsas: Filling the swamp

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Donald Trump was elected president — with nearly 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton — promising to “drain the swamp” in Washington. He’s spent the month since the election restocking it with more alligators.

We’ve always known that Trump’s world revolves around himself. But one might believe that he’d at least pay lip service to the decided minority who delivered his undeserved, Russian-backed victory. Instead, he can’t bother to give a damn about even his strongest nonwealthy supporters.

{mosads}Take Trump’s choice for the Department of Labor, Andy Puzder. The fast-food CEO is among the strongest business proponents of lax immigration laws, seeking cheap labor to flip burgers. He was a strong supporter of the 2013 Senate effort at comprehensive immigration reform, save for one provision: the one that called for more border security.

So despite launching his campaign on a call for draconian and xenophobic immigration policy, Trump nominated an immigration advocate to helm the one agency that enforces immigration law in the workplace. That’s potentially good news for the nation’s undocumented working population, but not so great for folks who voted for a massive border wall and mass deportations. As Breitbart — the website that most ardently supported Trump this year — complained, “pro-American immigration reformers and advocates for higher-wages are hammering Donald Trump’s selection of a cheap-labor, migration-boosting employer to run the Department of Labor.”

But Puzder isn’t an anomaly. Trump is nominating primarily lobbyists, Wall Street cronies, and the ultra-wealthy to helm Cabinet departments, and in so doing, he is just pouring more sludge into the “swamp.” During the campaign, he ran an anti-Semitic ad accusing Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein of being part of “global special interests.” Yet when it came time to pick his Treasury secretary, he picked 17-year Goldman Sachs veteran Steven Mnuchin. Apparently, Trump wanted a piece of those global special interests for himself.

And remember when Trump campaigned against the wealthy elite, posing as a populist? 

“You need to look no further than our last couple presidential nominees,” said Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway a month before the election. “I think this party was veering dangerously close to being the party of the elites, and yet Donald Trump is really giving voice to the workers.” So how has Trump given voice to those workers?

His choice for secretary of Commerce is billionaire Wilbur Ross; his choice for the No. 2 job at Commerce, Todd Ricketts, is a billionaire; his choice for secretary of Education is billionaire Betsy DeVos; his choice for the Small Business Administration is billionaire Linda McMahon; and Puzder and Mnuchin themselves are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

George W. Bush’s Cabinet had a combined net worth of $250 million. Trump’s stands at $2.5 billion. Number of working-class people in his administration? Zero. So much for giving them a voice.

And then there’s the old Washington political hands given administration promotions: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.); Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.); Rep. Mike -Pompeo (R-Kan.); party chairman Reince Priebus; and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s (Ky.) wife, Elaine Chao, as secretary of Transportation — her fifth administration appointment under a Republican president. The current inhabitants have no interest in draining their current, swampy home.

Meanwhile, the Republican-led Congress refused to consider extending healthcare benefits to retired coal miners, abandoning a group that swung Trump’s way by a 4-1 margin. No longer necessary to win an election, they have been tossed aside like every other key group supporting Republicans this year except one — the guys now sitting in his Cabinet.

Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Jeff Sessions Mitch McConnell

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