One of Donald Trump's many campaign promises consisted of "draining the swamp," a phrase he used to refer to putting an end to business and politics as usual in Washington. Indeed, it even became a Twitter hashtag as well as an often-used slogan at one point during his campaign. However, Trump's recent staffing decisions have led many to believe his upcoming administration reflects a "deepening of the swamp," rather than a "draining" of it.
For example, The Washington Post reports that Trump's myriad business holdings could present substantial conflicts of interests that require more mitigation efforts than Trump appears to have put forth thus far. Furthermore, some of Trump's cabinet selections, such as Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, have heavy Wall Street ties that are not at all reflective of an "out with the old" mentality.
The "drain the swamp" phrase came back into style recently after Trump adviser Newt Gingrich told NPR that Trump was no longer interested in draining the swamp, per se, saying, "I'm told he now just disclaims that [the drain the swamp phrase]. He now says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore." However, Gingrich quickly backtracked, later saying post-interview that "I want to report that I made a big boo-boo. ... I talked this morning with President-elect Donald Trump, and he reminded me he likes draining the swamp."
Regardless of whether or not Trump (or others) believe his recent actions and appointments are reflective of his "drain the swamp" campaign promise, the memes below serve to illustrate a theme that Trump, for better or worse, made highly popular throughout the election cycle.
1. Deepening The Swamp
A reflection on how Trump is adding the "alligators" of Wall Street and lobbyists to his administration despite campaign promises to do away with old political and economic paradigms.
2. Rex Tillerson
This meme criticizes the extensive oil industry ties of Trump's nominee for secretary of state, ExxonMobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson. Tillerson's nomination reflects a deepening of oil industry and governmental ties, a seemingly far cry from "draining the swamp."
3. Rex Tillerson Part II
Another reflection of the oil-government linkages Trump is seemingly creating by nominating an ExonnMobil executive as secretary of state.
4. The Most Overdressed Plumber
A Twitter user depicts an ornately dressed Trump as the "most overdressed plumber ever," perhaps an ironic reflection on his ability to "drain the swamp."
5. Swamp Monster
Some more commentary on the potential conflict of interests presented by the nomination of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
6. Ivanka For President?
A Twitter user voices their support for Ivanka Trump, perhaps unintentionally highlighting the extensive conflicts of interest that seem to plague the incoming Trump administration.
7. Russian Oil?
Let's #draintheswamp so we can fill it with Russian crude and fryer oil!— Jesse Kinkead (@chipwastaken) December 13, 2016
A Twitter user laments the alleged influence of Russia in the presidential election. Russian President Vladimir Putin has firmly denounced allegations of Russian hacking.
8. Secretary Of State Putin?
Trump's "drain the swamp" slogan becomes more ironic when it becomes clear he's filling his cabinet with individuals who seemingly have ties to both the oil industry and Russia.
9. Tar Pit
Sometimes when you #DrainTheSwamp, you find a tar pit.— Mark Davies (@markyadavies) December 13, 2016
More than just one of Trump's administration picks has connections with the oil industry, and it's becoming harder and harder to ignore.
If one thing's certain, it's that Trump's "swamp draining" has gone in a completely different direction than expected. Now, that so-called "swamp" is looking even murkier than ever before.