Trump Cabinet Is Overflowing The Swamp On Our Dime (VIDEO/TWEETS)

Trump being sworn in (image courtesy White House Facebook)
Trump being sworn in (image courtesy White House Facebook)

By now, it’s long since been established that Donald Trump isn’t draining the swamp. He’s overflowed it several times over. This is a man who is still allowing the proceeds from his real estate empire to flow into his bank account even though the Constitution forbids him from doing so. And before Christmas, he signed a tax reform package that he openly admitted was a huge giveaway to his fellow one-percenters.

But it turns out Trump is merely the biggest and nastiest creature in the swamp that is the current White House. Several members of his cabinet have been under fire for living high and sticking taxpayers with the bill.

One of the worst offenders is Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. Or more specifically, the entire Carson family. His wife, Candy, was heavily involved in redecorating his Washington office. She even pressed her husband’s staff to buy a $31,500 dining set.

That purchase was more than six times the legal limit for office redecorations, prompting chief administrative officer Helen Foster to cry foul. Watch her tell CNN about the proceedings here.

Foster said she balked at trying to find money not only for the office redecoration, but also at signing a memo justifying the purchase of a security system. She claimed that despite a perfect score on her employee review, she was demoted–reportedly in retaliation for not wanting to go along with the spending requests.

More recently, HUD lawyers warned Carson that allowing his son and daughter to organize a listening tour in Baltimore last summer violated federal ethics rules. All of this seems to have gotten under the good doctor’s skin.

Earlier this week, The Washington Post learned that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt installed a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in his office. It’s the latest big-ticket purchase for Pruitt, who has also been criticized for flying on first class flights–supposedly because passengers were being mean to him.

Another frequent flier is Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who frequently takes charter flights back home to Montana, as well as to Alaska and the Virgin Islands. Last fall, his own inspector general’s office rapped him for not properly documenting those flights. Apparently the lesson wasn’t learned, because when Senator Maria Cantwell called him out for taking a $12,000 charter flight from Las Vegas to Montana, he replied, “I resent the fact of your insults.”

But that isn’t the most infamous incident involving a Trump secretary in the air. That distinction belongs to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. While on a ten-day trip to Europe that cost taxpayers over $120,000, Shulkin and his wife spent most of the time shopping and sightseeing. The VA’s own inspector general later found that Shulkin’s chief of staff told a number of lies to justify having Shulkin’s wife accompany him on the trip.

But at least Shulkin still has his job. Price was forced to resign in September after just 231 days on the job after he stuck taxpayers with $1 million in fares for flights on charter and military aircraft.

Barry Bennett, Carson’s 2016 presidential campaign manager, thinks that a number of secretaries are making “unforced errors” because they really don’t know how much their actions cost, and are mostly “new to Washington power.” Nonetheless, he believes that people need to start asking more questions about how much things cost.

That explanation would be believable if not for the number of officials who at least have some experience with government work. Pruitt, for instance, was Oklahoma’s attorney general for six years, and a state senator for eight years before that. Shulkin was the VA’s undersecretary for health during the last two years of the Obama administration. Price was a congressman for just over 12 years, and a state senator for eight years before that.

A lot of people have called Trump a “wrecking ball” to the Washington establishment. Based on his Cabinet’s spending habits, it looks like that the only thing left in a rubble is regard for the taxpayer.

(featured image courtesy White House Facebook)

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.