Trump adviser says he is ditching 'drain the swamp'
WASHINGTON — One of Donald Trump's advisers says the president-elect is no longer interested in his rallying cry "drain the swamp."
"I'm told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in an interview that aired Wednesday on NPR. Gingrich, a vice chairman of the transition team, also predicted there would be "constant fighting" over Trump's efforts to reduce the influence of lobbyists and Washington insiders.
Trump's aides say he remains committed to his underlying swamp-draining policies, such as banning outgoing Trump transition and administration members from lobbying for five years. Trump also prohibits any lobbyists from joining his transition team or administration unless they de-register.
"President-elect Trump's ethics reform policies are full speed ahead," transition spokesman Jason Miller said. "We're going to change the way business is done in Washington and start putting the American people first."
"'Drain the swamp'" became a staple of the final month of Trump's campaign, with crowds chanting it as loudly as they had been shouting "build the wall" and "lock her up." The slogan also appeared on T-shirts and signs.
It has remained part of Trump's post-election "thank you" tour. Whether in Ohio or Florida, the crowd continued to shout along with the president-elect as he vowed to curtail corruption in Washington — even as he revealed that he wasn't always crazy about the catchphrase.
"Funny how that term caught on, isn't it?" Trump mused during a rally this month in Des Moines, Iowa. "I tell everyone, I hated it. Somebody said 'drain the swamp' and I said, 'Oh, that is so hokey. That is so terrible.'"
"I said, all right, I'll try it," Trump continued. "So like a month ago I said 'drain the swamp' and the place went crazy. And I said 'Whoa, what's this?' Then I said it again. And then I start saying it like I meant it, right? And then I started to love it, and the place loved it. Drain the swamp. It's true. It's true. Drain the swamp."
Gingrich told NPR that as the incoming president, perhaps Trump feels that "he should be marginally more dignified" than leading crowds in "lock her up" and "drain the swamp" chants. Gingrich said he supports Trump's ethics reform proposals.
Lemire reported from Palm Beach, Florida.