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A Rising Swamp and a Sinking Feeling

Trump Has Made a Mockery of His Most Fundamental Campaign Promises

By Taylor Lincoln

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January 19, 2017 – A year ago, a new kind of politician rode into town. He claimed to have a singular focus on elevating the fortunes of everyday Americans and a contempt for the culture of Washington, D.C., which he castigated as “the swamp.”

“Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people,” President Donald Trump said two minutes into his inaugural address.

As if his point were not clear, Trump continued: “January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”

For nearly 50 years, Public Citizen has undertaken a mission similar to the one that Trump professed: looking out for the interests of regular people and ensuring that they are represented in the halls of power.

We committed ourselves to monitoring this new politician closely. To borrow that old Russian proverb, memorably translated by President Reagan, we endeavored to “trust but verify” – except without the trust part. Who really could trust the proprietor of Trump University, after all?

This report compiles much of Public Citizen’s coverage of Trump’s first year through our traditional lenses of exposing favors to special interests, attempts to undue safeguards, and acts of self-dealing by those in the public’s trust.