Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich has reportedly cautioned President-elect Donald Trump to act quickly if he hopes to fulfill his campaign promise of cleaning up corruption in Washington, D.C.
On Nov. 13, Gingrich asserted that the incoming president will have to work fast and aggressively if he wants to successfully root out the lobbyist system in the nation’s capitol. Otherwise, the former House speaker warned, the system will engulf the president-elect.
“This is a city which if you don’t shove it as hard as you can while you have momentum, they will surround you,” Gingrich told CBS News.
Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump promised his supporters he would head to Washington, D.C., and “drain the swamp.”
“I mean, the swamp doesn’t want to be drained,” Gingrich continued. “And the swamp will just suck you in if you let it, so he needs to have a very, very aggressive first year.”
Gingrich is the vice-chair of Trump’s transition team, which has largely been filled with corporate consultants and lobbyists, according to The New York Times.
Among the Trump transition team members, Verizon lobbyist Jeffrey Eisenach is selecting the new staff members for the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates telecommunications, cable TV, internet and other forms of communication.
Food industry lobbyist Michael Torrey is currently in charge of staffing the Department of Agriculture, while oil and fracking industry lobbyist Michael Catanzaro is heading the energy transition team.
Peter Wehner, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, has criticized these appointments as evidence that Trump is not serious about upholding his pledge to drain the Washington swamp.
“This whole idea that he was an outsider and going to destroy the political establishment and drain the swamp where the lies of a con man, and guess what -- he is being exposed as just that,” Wehner said.
On Nov. 13, during an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” the president-elect defended his transition team, asserting that lobbyists are all he has to work with.
“We’re doing a lot of things to clean up the system,” Trump said. “But everybody that works for government, they then leave government and they become a lobbyist, essentially. I mean, the whole place is one big lobbyist ... I’m saying that they know the system right now, but we’re going to phase that out.”
Gingrich had been heavily touted as the Trump administration's potential secretary of state. On the shortlist, the former House speaker is reportedly competing with former United Nations ambassador John R. Bolton and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.
On Nov. 14, The Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim announced on Twitter that a source familiar with the transition team’s decisions had told him that Gingrich was no longer being considered.
“Source says John Bolton is close to being named Secretary of State, Corker is still a remote possibility, Gingrich is out,” Grim tweeted out.