President-elect Donald Trump's campaign trail refrain of "drain the swamp" was "cute" while it lasted—but don't expect to hear much of it from here on out, Newt Gingrich told NPR this week.
"I'm told he now just disclaims that," Trump ally Gingrich said to NPR's Rachel Martin of the phrase. "He now says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore."
Gingrich learned as much after posting a "drain the swamp"-inspired tweet that "somebody" reproached him for. "Somebody wrote back and said they were tired of hearing this stuff," he said.
While Gingrich attributed the newfound distaste for the phrase to Trump's feeling that "as the next president of the United States...he should be marginally more dignified than talking about alligators in swamps," others pointed to a different explanation: With his cabinet choices, Trump isn't actually draining the swamp, he's restocking it.
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 22, 2016
Trump dropping 'drain the swamp'
Trump is now knee-deep in billionaire, Wall Street alligators. Way to go! https://t.co/jdAhLyJpAK
— BJ Leiderman (@BJLeiderman) December 22, 2016
after nominating a cabinet full of billionaire donors, Trump disclaims his "drain the swamp" pledge https://t.co/gSZ1SyOmJr
— Brendan Fischer (@brendan_fischer) December 21, 2016
As the Washington Post reported:
As admissions of political expediency go, this is pretty forthcoming.
But it's also worth noting here that Trump's flip on this phrase seems to have come pretty suddenly. Just a day before Gingrich's first tweet above, Trump promised in Alabama to "drain the swamp of corruption in Washington, D.C." He said the same in Orlando the day before and in Hershey, Pa., the day before that.
So it's not clear whether a specific story or cable news item—which have a tendency to draw instant Trump policy directives and declarations—might have influenced this change of course, if indeed it sticks. But what's clear is that Trump's efforts to "drain the swamp" have increasingly been derided and scoffed at as he has named a Goldman Sachs executive to head the Treasury Department and politicians and fellow billionaires to lead other departments. And then there are the many possible conflicts of interest.
Indeed, Gingrich may just be confirming what many observers already feared. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) put it bluntly last month: "A lot of what Mr. Trump was saying to get votes turns out to be not what he intends to do as the president of the United States."