Opinion | Swamps R Us

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You remember the political swamp he was going to dedicate his presidency to draining? Well, it’s not a problem anymore, and you’re in the clear, Steve Bannon! (Charged with collecting money for the fabled border wall and then diverting over $1 million of those funds for his own … stuff. When he was arrested last year, authorities picked Bannon up aboard a yacht owned by a fugitive Chinese billionaire.)

As the administration went on, White House concerns about swamps seemed to dwindle, and it became easier to imagine Trump standing next to one, tossing the political equivalent of cottonmouths and yellow-bellied sliders into the water while Stephen Miller draped Spanish moss over everything.

And the guys who stayed out of the clink were still going to have to find a way to make money when the Trump White House closed down. As he left office, just to keep the water turbid for his old pals’ comfort, the about-to-be-ex-president revoked his own executive order aimed at prohibiting departing executive branch appointees from coming back as lobbyists for five years after leaving the administration.

We’re all hoping Biden doesn’t create any topics for discussion nearly as, um, swampy. He is, as you may have noticed, a very different kind of guy. On Inauguration Day the soon-to-be president tweeted at his wife, “I love you, Jilly, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have you with me on the journey ahead.” Trump’s chances of competing on the marital message front are a little dim now that he’s banned from most social media. Maybe he just puts little love notes written in Sharpie under Melania’s pillow. Hehehe.

Wondering about whether people will miss Trump gossip presumes that he’ll ever stay out of the headlines. Hard to imagine. We’re cruising toward one last Senate trial on his impeachment, and if that’s ever over, there’s the matter of his financial problems. He’s leaving the White House with a ton of debt, none of which he seems to have much capacity to pay. He knows lots of rich and powerful people, of course, but many of his real friends seem closer to the Rudy Giuliani mode of unemployable idiots.

We’re stuck giving him a pension of $221,000 or so plus a bunch of other stuff, like lifetime Secret Service protection and funding for some private staffers.

We the taxpayers will be also paying for some office space, as we do with all the ex-presidents. But one of the questions we instantly want to ask — one that will take the political discussion at parties instantly away from the Biden agenda — is whether he’ll try to use our money to rent space in his own properties. He charged the government a reported $2.5 million while he was in office.

Time to let somebody else do the shopping.

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