On the latest episode of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver took a closer look at President Donald Trump’s oft-repeated campaign promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington D.C.
Spoiler alert: Oliver thinks Trump has done a pretty horrible job at keeping his word.
The HBO host covered quite a bit of ground during the segment. He quickly skimmed past cabinet appointees like former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury and the so-called “king of bankruptcy” Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce, as well as the appointment of acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney, who received campaign contributions from the payday loan industry while in Congress and is now working with said industry to roll back consumer protections.
Oliver focused most closely on the Interior Department, specifically Scott Angelle, that department’s head of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. To demonstrate Angelle’s close ties to the oil and gas industry, which Angelle is supposed to help regulate, Oliver played a 2010 clip of Angelle at a rally organized by the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association fiercely advocating that offshore drilling immediately be resumed only days after the Deepwater Horizon leak was capped. In another clip from 2017, Angelle, then serving on the board of oil pipeline company Sunoco Logistics Partners, read his cell phone number out to a room of oil industry executives, telling them to call instead of text because “everything you text to me is a public record.”
Ultimately, Oliver argued that the “laughable number of wealthy businessmen presiding over policies that could directly benefit themselves and their former employers” proved pretty conclusively that “drain the swamp” was empty rhetoric.
“It seems pretty clear at this point that Trump has in no way ‘drained the swamp,'” Oliver said. “What he has done is drained the phrase of its original meaning.”