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Presidential candidate Donald Trump declared, “It is time to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.,” while proposing a series of ethical reforms.

As president, all Trump has drained is the federal treasury, which will have a deficit of $1 trillion for fiscal year 2019, bringing the accumulated debt to $22.5 trillion.

Economists and members of the Reagan administration warned Trump’s massive tax cuts would cause federal revenues to hemorrhage over the next decade. Trump reportedly responded, “Yeah, but I won’t be here.”

Trump relishes red ink. “I’m the king of debt. I’m great with debt. Nobody knows debt better than me.” (“CBS This Morning,” July 2016).

His Guinness-worthy record of failures: Trump casinos (three), Trump University, Trump Ice (water), Trump Air, Trump: The Game, Trump Magazine, Trump Mortgage, Trump Steaks, GoTrump.com (travel site), Trump Vodka, Trump mattresses, and colognes like Donald Trump: The Fragrance.

This was mostly prior to 2006 when Trump couldn’t get a New York bank loan. Then he suddenly became cash flush, hence the hidden tax returns.

Ginormous deficit aside, Trump seems most panicked about a pre-election recession, prompting talk about cutting the payroll tax funding Social Security and Medicare, jeopardizing the long-term future of those two “socialistic” programs. Not good.

The Founding Fathers were freaked out by conflicts of interest. Alexander Hamilton warned that a president receiving “any other emolument” — from Congress, the states or federal fiefdoms — could raise the question of divided loyalty or corruption.

For the first time in U.S. history the courts may decide if a U.S. president has run afoul of the constitutional emoluments clauses (Article 1, Section 9) precluding dealings with foreign influences or (Article 2, Section 1) payments from federal or state accounts, except for salaries.

Trump claimed to be totally removed from the Trump Organization upon becoming president, but isn’t. ProPublica reported in 2017, “A clause in his trust states it ‘shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request’ or whenever his son and longtime attorney ‘deem appropriate.’ That can include everything from profits to the underlying assets, such as the businesses themselves.”

Thus we have Vice President Mike Pence transported by military aircraft to the Trump International Golf Club in Doonbeg, Scotland, while on a diplomatic mission to Dublin, Ireland, 181 miles away. And Trump wanting the next G-7 meeting at his Doral, Fla., resort.

In addition, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has identified at least 12 foreign governments making payments to Trump properties while he’s been in office. NBC News puts it at 22.

Trump’s ethics reforms? Just another bait-and-switch con job.

But, yeah, drain that swamp.

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Saul Shapiro is the retired editor of The Courier, living in Cedar Falls.

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