Americans cannot say they were not warned.
During the raucous presidential election campaign, as ugly and divisive as any in American politics, Donald Trump made it quite clear that he was going to “drain the swamp.”
It was one of his key rallying cries, the stuff of memes and placards that had the political elites snickering at Trump’s naive audacity, and smugly laughing from within their protective cocoons that Hillary Clinton would surely leave alone once elected.
Then the supposedly impossible happened.
And, as White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Thursday after Trump released the outline of his budget proposal, a $1.1 trillion document filled with scythes and sump pumps, “you can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it.”
A shocked Washington establishment now stands by, waiting for the end to come in a massive slashing of the federal workforce, even as political experts, including old-school Republicans, give it impossible long-shot odds of getting through Congress.
But wishful thinking has not be kind to those who still think Clinton should be in the Oval Office, and not the brash, billionaire braggart from New York without a lick of political acumen.
As a result, programs cherished by progressives and liberal special-interest groups are being excised by the Trump administration in favour of bolstering national defence and homeland security.
“It is not a soft-power budget. This is a hard-power budget, and that was done intentionally,” said Mulvaney. “The president very clearly wants to send a message to our allies and to our potential adversaries that this is a strong-power administration.”