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Dem Senators Charge: Trump Not Draining the Swamp

Trump’s critics believe that, by providing positions in his administration to his campaign staff, that he is not “draining the swamp” like he promised.

The Hill reports:

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) took to the Senate floor Thursday to charge that President-elect Donald Trump is already walking back his pledge to “drain the swamp.”

Warren said that roughly a week after the presidential election, Trump is “inviting the biggest, ugliest swamp monsters in the front door.”

“We’ve heard reports that Vice President-elect Mike Pence has now decided to remove all the lobbyist from the transition team,” she said from the Senate floor. “Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it.

… Trump promised to drain the swamp, and after one week we’ve seen what Donald Trump’s promise means. Nothing.”

NBC News reported Wednesday that Pence has ordered that all lobbyists be removed from the transition team.

Trump, during a CBS News interview earlier in the week, acknowledged his team contains lobbyists but argued that Washington is all “one big lobbyist” and promised his administration would “phase that out.”

Whitehouse said Trump’s campaign pledge to “drain the swamp” could be an area where Democrats are able to work with his administration.

“There are a lot of very powerful creatures in the swamp,” he said. “It’s one thing to say you’re going to drain it. It’s another thing to actually take them on.”

Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) both questioned Trump’s transition team on Tuesday.

Apart from the issue of lobbyists on the team, Democrats have also homed in on Trump’s decision to make former Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon his chief strategist and senior counselor.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) spoke from the Senate floor on Thursday next to a sign of headlines from the conservative website, including one from 2015 that read: “Gabby Giffords: The gun control movement’s human shield.”

“This is nasty stuff. This is vile, and it comes all the way from the top, from Mr. Bannon himself,” Franken said. “We have no reason to believe that Mr. Bannon would not seek to deploy such tactics from the White House.”

Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) also spoke against Bannon from the Senate floor on Thursday.

Ten senators, including Merkley and Franken, as well as Sen.-elect Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), sent Trump a letter on Thursday urging that he “immediately” fire Bannon.

Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), have largely sidestepped weighing in on the appointment. Many GOP lawmakers have also noted they’ve never met Trump’s chief aid.

But Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said people should look at Bannon’s entire career, which includes stints on Wall Street, in the Navy and in Hollywood.

“He has got a Harvard business degree. He’s a naval officer. He has success in entertainment,” she told reporters Monday in Trump Tower, according to The New York Times. She also called him a “brilliant tactician.”

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

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