Someone incorrectly stated that the phrase "DRAIN THE SWAMP" was no longer being used by me. Actually, we will always be trying to DTS.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
The rebuke, aimed at Gingrich, came after the former House speaker and Trump surrogate told NPR that Trump “disclaims” the phrase “drain the swamp” and “doesn’t want to use it anymore.”
“I’ve noticed on a couple of fronts, like people chanting ‘lock her up,’ that he’s in a different role now and maybe he feels that as president, as the next president of the United States, that he should be marginally more dignified than talking about alligators in swamps,” Gingrich said Wednesday on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
“I personally have, as a sense of humor, like the alligator and swamp language . . . But, you know, he is my leader and if he decides to drop the swamp and the alligator, I will drop the swamp and the alligator.”
Trump used “drain the swamp” on the campaign trail as a catchall promise to upend the conventional Washington power structure, limit the influence of lobbyists and improve government accountability.
So far, the transition has announced some measures designed to put distance between the lobbying world and the incoming administration, such as barring registered lobbyists from holding administration positions and prohibiting officials who leave from becoming lobbyists for five years. But former government ethics officials say these measures do nothing to address much larger ethical questions facing Trump, including how he will manage potential conflicts-of-interest and deal with concerns about access-peddling.
Gingrich took his comments back with a tweet Thursday, writing: “I goofed. Draining the swamp is in, @realDonaldTrump is going to do it, and the alligators should be worried.”
He also recorded a video (see below), in which he said he made a “big boo-boo”:
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowksi echoed Gingrich’s original comments during an interview with “Fox and Friends” on Thursday.
“If you had to put them in a chronological order, ‘drain the swamp’ is probably somewhere down at the bottom” compared with “getting tax reform done, making sure middle-class people have more jobs, making sure we’re renegotiating our bad trade deals, ensuring that we’re fixing Obamacare,” he said.
Lewandowksi is poised to start a consulting firm that is expected to represent corporate and other clients with business before the government — the type of activity that appears to run counter to Trump’s statements about “draining the swamp.”
In the interview with Fox, Lewandowski tried to distance himself from the idea that he would be engaging in influence-peddling, saying that he would not become a registered lobbyist and that his “goal isn’t to go and become a swamp creature