Fox News host Eric Bolling says corruption in Washington has been around since D.C. became the nation’s capital but that it’s getting worse, is a plague on both parties, and that President Trump is in a unique position to uproot the system.
That’s the focus of Bolling’s latest book, “The Swamp: Washington’s Murky Pool of Corruption and Cronyism and How Trump Can Drain It.”
Bolling, an unabashed Trump supporter, says politicians have been corrupted by all sorts of vices since our founding but says the infusion of big time lobbying money really changes the game into what we witness today.
“As more and more money got introduced, the type of scandal changed and they all became money scandals. Literally hundreds of billions of dollars come to D.C. on an annual basis to find a home in lawmakers’ pockets for votes. Everyone became corrupt. Everyone became up for sale,” said Bolling.
He says many lawmakers come to Washington with the best of intentions but the system quickly swallows them up.
“Some actually think they’re actually going to go there and make a difference and be difficult from the typical swamp creature that resides in D.C. But when they get there, they realize how lucrative it is,” said Bolling.
He offered an example of how the swamp gets deeper.
“A senator’s salary is $174,000 a year. You say that’s a lot of money but not if he were in the private sector. So he gets there and says, ‘After taxes, I make a hundred grand, but I can go and have a lobbyist pay for my dinner every single night of the week, maybe even fly my family to Mexico for a vacation as long as we talk about something of material importance to my district.’
“They come back from these dinners or these trips, and then the lobbyist says, ‘Thanks for the time, but the people I represent want you to vote this way on that water issue coming up next week.’ That may be something the lawmaker was going to vote against. All of a sudden it’s, ‘I like these things and my family loves these trips, so I’ll vote for it to keep the gravy train coming,'” said Bolling.
Bolling stresses that this is a problem afflicting both parties.
“There’s so much special interest and corporate money flying around on both sides of the aisle,” said Bolling. “I’m getting phone calls from some Republicans in the book. Well, let’s call them ex-friends. They don’t want to talk to me anymore.”
While lobbyists and lawmakers find themselves entangled, critics of President Trump suggest his history of back scratching in the business world makes him more likely to perpetuate the problem than to solve it.
Bolling strongly disagrees, starting with the notion that what Trump his in his real estate ventures was anything like what happens in Washington.
“Back scratching is one thing. That’s not what they’re doing. They’re buying and selling influence. If you and I were to do some of the things they’re doing, we’d go to jail,” said Bolling.
Despite the entrenched swamp in Washington, Bolling believes Trump is uniquely qualified to effectively undermine business as usual.
“He’s going to treat the country like a business rather than how the politicians have treated the people over the last 24o years, where, ‘It doesn’t matter. I’m not paying for it. Go ahead and buy it it no matter what the price is,'” said Bolling.
He says Trump’s actions over the first six months are encouraging.
“He continues to call out and get rid of people. It doesn’t matter if they’re on his staff or are Republicans or Democrats. If you’re not holding your end of the bargain, if you’re not treating the country and the taxpayer and the voter the way you would treat an investor in a company, get out. There’s no reason for you,” said Bolling.
Bolling is also bullish on the policies coming out of the White House.
“He stepped into D.C. and he started rolling back regulations,” said Bolling. “People’s eyes glaze over when you talk about that until you realize that the rollback of the regulations is the reason the stock market is making new highs every week and the reason we have more Americans employed now than ever in history.”
Bolling says another key is Trump making good on not allowing people in his administration to jump over to a lobbying position until at least five years after leaving government service.
“If he holds by that, that’ll be a big, big, big start to draining the swamp,” said Bolling.