Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Culleton: What happened to draining the swamp?

For many decades the worst epithet that a Republican could call a liberal Democrat was a "commie." We now have a Republican president who is an abject admirer of former KBG Lt. Col. Vladimir Putin, who boasts of his friendship with the communist China leader Xi Jinping, and who is now buddying up with the communist leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un. So who is the commie now?

President Trump loves to bask in the admiration of his supporters in campaign-style rallies. At his latest rally the crowd broke into his campaign chant of "Drain the swamp." Now that is a cause I can support.


Trump claims that the Justice Department and the FBI are full of corruption because they are doing their job. No credible examples have been cited however.

His other Cabinet appointees offer plenty of examples. The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson was caught trying to buy an expensive dining room furniture set using government funds.


Trustee of the National Resources Defense Council Robert Redford summed up the record of EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt better than I could: "Pruitt's conduct as head of the EPA is beyond disappointing, it is disgraceful. The list of indefensible actions grows each week: from sweetheart condo deals with the wife of an energy lobbyist, to unfair raises for favored appointees … to a $43,000 soundproof phone booth… ." Redford later points out the most serious issues with Pruitt's tenure, his actions to damage the environment he is pledged to defend.

The same kind of criticism applies to most other Trump appointees, including Ben Carson mentioned above.

Trump's method of "draining the swamp" is to replace competent cabinet members devoted to the mission of their agency with enemies of the programs of that particular agency. An early supporter of candidate Trump, Gen. Michael Flynn, liked to lead Trump rallies with the chant of "lock her up," referring of course to candidate Hillary Clinton. When he left the courthouse after pleading guilty to a felony that chant came back to humiliate him, as critics of the Trump administration greeted him with a chant of "Lock him up."

Trump supporters still raise the issue of alleged improprieties with respect to the Clinton Foundation. But the Republican Congress and the Republican administration have not bothered to pursue this issue. They know that there is "no there there." They would much rather have the issue to cite in political campaigns than have an embarrassing (to them) exoneration of the foundation.

Some of the damage dealt out by the Trump administration is permanent. Well beyond my life span, the legal system will be burdened with judges whose sole qualifications are conservative beliefs and relative youth. Only one of these has been disapproved. During his congressional hearing a Republican congressman elicited the fact that the nominee had never practiced law at all. He withdrew with embarrassment. I don't blame him; I blame the president for offering his name.

Within the lifetime of my children I expect a nuclear war in the Middle East traceable to Trump's inexplicable failure to support the Iran nuclear agreement; I expect a financial crash and runaway inflation thanks to the Trump tax bill; I expect your and my health care expenses to continue to rise; I expect more crazy weather due to our failure to deal with environmental issues. Hey don't blame me; I am one of the majority of voters who voted against Trump.

John Culleton writes every other Tuesday from Eldersburg. Email him at