President Donald Trump stole “drain the swamp” from her 2006 election campaign, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi claims. But did he?
Pelosi used the phrase first during her 2006 election campaign, promising she would drain the GOP swamp under President George W. Bush. But While it’s true Pelosi used it first, it’s unlikely Trump stole it from her — Pelosi was far from being the first to use the phrase.
President Ronald Reagan called to “drain the swamp of over-taxation, over-regulation and runaway inflation that has dangerously eroded our free way of life” on his first anniversary in office. “Don’t let the Washington whirl or the Washington morass let you lose sight of why we came here and what it is that we’re all trying to do,” Reagan said.
Jack Kemp, President George H.W. Bush’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, also vowed to “drain the swamp.” Conservative commentator George Will used the phrase in a 1994 column comparing congressmen to crocodiles. “The objective of this war must be to make it impossible or intolerable for any state to harbor, protect or aid and abet terrorists. The point is not to swat every mosquito but to drain the swamp,”Columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell used the phrase several times in a 2004 9/11 Commission hearing.
Prior to all those uses, however, was that of the American socialists, who promised to “drain the swamp” as early as 1912.
So who owns the phrase? Most likely those who have actually done the most to drain the swamp. In that arena, Reagan and Trump have a leg up on Pelosi. Reagan drained entire regulatory agencies during his administration, and Trump has stayed true to his policy of repealing at least two regulations for each new one.
In his first year in office, Trump sliced regulations at nearly double the rate of President Bush and more than triple the rate of President Obama. Pelosi, however, has done little to cut back regulatory creeps and was instrumental in pushing Obamacare.
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