Swamp Watch – 3 January 2017


It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. After a flurry of activity Trump slowed down when he got to the tail end of his cabinet, but today he finally decided on a nominee for US Trade Representative. It might seem as if this position is more important than usual, since Trump campaigned heavily on trade, but it’s probably not. Trump has already said that his commerce secretary will be more involved than usual in trade deals; Peter Navarro will head up a new National Trade Council; and Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s longtime business lawyer, will be his “special representative for international negotiations.”

That’s a lot of cooks stirring the broth, and it’s unclear just how much influence Lighthizer will have on this team. That said, Lighthizer knows the ins and outs of trade law, so he’ll be pretty useful in a technical capacity. Aside from that, he’s been a DC lawyer and lobbyist for the past two decades, but hasn’t served in a government position since the Reagan administration. Does that make him part of the swamp? I’m not sure.