One of President Trump’s key campaign promises was to “drain the swamp” of government corruption and bureaucracy – but as John Oliver argued on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, he’s instead “drained the phrase of its original meaning.” The comedian spotlighted several of the key “swamp creatures” from Trump’s cabinet, including the former and current administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt and Andrew Wheeler.
Pruitt, who served in that position from February 2017 to July 2018, “became a household name” for his reckless misuse of taxpayer funds – including spending $43,000 on a soundproof booth for his office, trying to get the CEO of Chick Fil-A to give his wife a franchise and demanding a 24/7 security detail drive him around to see which Ritz-Carlton had the best moisturizing lotion. (“Which is simply insane because everyone knows the best lotion comes from La Quinta Inn,” Oliver cracked. “That’s right – if you want to masturbate with hotel lotion, choose La Quinta. It’s like their slogan says: ‘La Quinta has the lotion that will help you jizz.’”)
The host noted that Pruitt was “not an isolated case.” As the Associated Press reported in March, “nearly half of the political appointees hired at the Environmental Protection Agency under Trump have strong industry ties” – including Pruitt’s replacement, Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who earned over $700,000 for that work.
“As a coal lobbyist, Wheeler pushed hard to roll back environmental regulations impacting the industry,” Oliver said. “It’s like handing your city’s waste management over to a seagull. ‘So let me get this straight: The new strategy is we just throw our trash everywhere and leave it strewn around and we should have more French fries in our garbage. How the fuck are you in charge?’”
While “drain the swamp” has become one of Trump’s signature slogans, Oliver argued that he “never meant [it],” highlighting a campaign clip where the Republican admitted to disliking the phrase until his base responded to it. “[Trump] promised to clean up D.C.,” Oliver said. “And instead, the guy in charge of the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] is holding hands with loan sharks; the EPA might as well be run by a sentient piece of coal; and his head of oil rig safety wants the industry to blow up his digits like an under-regulated oil well.”
“All in all,” the host concluded, “it seems like if there is anyone remaining who is still hoping that Trump might drain the swamp, you can now officially kissy-face that idea goodbye.”