When you drain the swamp, you have to remember that if you don’t fill in what you drained, you’re no better off.
Donald Trump drained the swamp, but then repopulated it with slimy critters like Tom Price, Michael Flynn, Sebastian Gorka, and Steve Bannon—all since fired, and slimier but slicker ones like Jeff Sessions, Ryan Zinke, and Scott Pruitt who have managed to remain wallowing.
Funny thing about the swamp Trump drained—it was full of people who knew their way around the government. Trump’s reformatted legion knows its way around nothing, and the nation is in serious trouble.
I can’t blame Trump for this season’s hurricanes—I’ll leave that for future generations who parse his anti-science stance—but he has filled Washington with cronies and neophytes who now, facing their first massive disaster, are lost. Trump himself stands before a bank of reporters and explains what an island is while that island (it’s land surrounded by water, thanks, DT) is receiving about 7000 federal troops to aid in the recovery. But Russel L. Honoré, who bailed George W. Bush out of the Katrina debacle, has said Puerto Rico needs 50,000 troops. Trump, for his part, goes golfing.
After all, it’s the weekend. During the previous one he excoriated NFL players for a lack of patriotism, then spent the next few days enduring another health care fiasco while furthering the slow crucifixion of Mitch McConnell and the more rapid one of Tom Price. Somewhere on that to-do list ought to have been the recovery—maybe the reclamation— of Puerto Rico. Right now, short of the Civil War this may become—if it isn’t already—America’s greatest humanitarian disaster.
But what about North Korea? Or a super-bug epidemic? Or a cyber attack on the power grid? This administration is prepared for nothing. The citizens of San Juan, of Ponce, of Arecibo already know this. They are without food, without water, without shelter. The lack of sanitation has left them vulnerable to disease. The have no electricity and may not for months if not years. No schools. Few hospitals. No banks. No ATMs. Empty grocery stores. I think of our Hallowe’en snow storm in 2011 and how I “suffered” for three days without power and a week without cable. Cable! Believe me, we have no idea what is happening on that island, what has been happening for ten days, and what will keep happening for the foreseeable future.
Any president who goes golfing on this weekend should golf everyday and turn the job of leading a nation over to someone with at least a scintilla of an idea how to go about it. Trump has no empathy—we knew that—but the absence of common decency is even more troubling. I said previously that it was time to stop whispering about impeachment: now it’s time to shout it.