Former House Speaker and Donald Trump ally Newt Gingrich is walking back his claim that the president-elect will not prioritize his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, a charge that came after Trump selected a series of wealthy donors and business executives for his White House team.
Gingrich suggested in an interview with NPR earlier this week that Trump was no longer enamored of the pithy pledge, claiming Trump “now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore.”
MANCHESTER, NH – JANUARY 07: Republican presidential candidates (L-R) former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry participate in the ABC News, Yahoo! News, and WMUR Republican Presidential Debate at Saint Anselm College January 7, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The GOP contenders are in the final stretch of campaigning for the New Hampshire primary, the first in the nation, to be held on January 10. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
But in an online video posted Thursday, Gingrich said that the statement was “a big boo-boo,” adding that Trump assured him in a conversation Thursday that “he intends to drain the swamp.”
Without mentioning Gingrich by name, the president-elect skewered him Thursday morning in a tweet, saying “Someone incorrectly stated that the phrase “DRAIN THE SWAMP” was no longer being used by me. Actually, we will always be trying to DTS.”
Someone incorrectly stated that the phrase “DRAIN THE SWAMP” was no longer being used by me. Actually, we will always be trying to DTS.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
Gingrich is not the only Trump ally to say that the oft-repeated campaign pledge is taking a back seat to other policy initiatives. Speaking on FOX News on Thursday, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said of Trump’s priorities that “If you had to put them in a chronological order, drain the swamp is probably somewhere down at the bottom.”
Lewandowski announced this week that he plans to open a lobbying firm in Washington.