- Mark Wilson/Getty Images
President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday insisted he still wants to “drain the swamp” and eliminate special interests in Washington, DC, after two of his top allies suggested otherwise.
“Someone incorrectly stated that the phrase ‘DRAIN THE SWAMP’ was no longer being used by me,” Trump tweeted. “Actually, we will always be trying to DTS.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was a fierce Trump supporter throughout the 2016 campaign, said in a Wednesday NPR interview that Trump had softened on the phrase and no longer wanted to it.
“I’m told he now just disclaims that,” Gingrich said. “He now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore.”
Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, appeared to echo Gingrich’s claims during a Thursday Fox News appearance.
“Look, I think if you had to put them in a chronological order, ‘Drain the Swamp’ is probably somewhere down the bottom,” Lewandowski said.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) December 22, 2016
The controversial GOP operative, who just announced he was opening a consulting firm a block from the White House, said Trump would likely rather focus on fixing the economy and renegotiating trade deals.
“I think at the end of the day, it’s about the economy. It’s about creating jobs, it’s about fixing the trade deals,” he said.
Lewandowski concluded: “So draining the swamp is a larger narrative, but what it’s really about is putting people back to work.”
After Trump’s tweet on Thursday, Gingrich walked back his comments to NPR.
“I goofed,” Gingrich tweeted. “Draining the swamp is in, @realDonaldTrump is going to do it, and the alligators should be worried. #DTS”
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) December22, 2016
“Draining the swamp” was the go-to phrase Trump used toward the end of his presidential campaign. The message was used as a promise to rid government of lobbyists and special interests.
In recent weeks, some have begun to doubt how sincere Trump was about his message, as the president-elect appoints individuals who come from places like Goldman Sachs.