The White House’s Domestic Policy Council, ostensibly charged with overseeing a president’s domestic policy agenda, has been without a leader for several months. Politico reported yesterday, however, that Donald Trump and his team have settled on a new director.
The White House is expected to soon name Joe Grogan as the next head of its Domestic Policy Council, two sources with knowledge of the decision told POLITICO.
The move would elevate Grogan, a top Office of Management and Budget health care official and ally of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, to a role that could give him broad new influence over the Trump administration’s major policy priorities, including lowering drug prices and efforts to unwind Obamacare.
This wouldn’t ordinarily be especially notable, but Grogan’s name stands out for a reason. Politico also reported last May that Grogan was tasked with shaping the Trump administration’s drug-pricing plan, despite the fact that he was a drug industry lobbyist in 2017.
The article added, “Joe Grogan – who has sweeping authority over drug pricing, entitlement programs and other aspects of federal health policy at the Office of Management and Budget – didn’t obtain a waiver from a directive Trump issued during his first week in office that imposed a two-year cooling-off period between lobbying and regulating on the same ‘specific issue area.’”
As regular readers know, one of the signature lines of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was “drain the swamp.” Through the Republican was always a little vague about the meaning of the phrase, it was widely seen as an outsider’s vow to clean up the nation’s capital.
The Republican told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” during the campaign that he’s tired of everybody in the nation’s capital “being controlled by the special interests and the lobbyists.” Trump went so far as to say he’d have “no problem” banning lobbyists from his administration altogether.
So much for that idea.
Nearly a year ago, the president boasted, “From the day I took the oath of office, I’ve been fighting to drain the swamp. And sometimes it may not look like it, but, believe me, we are draining the swamp.”
Maybe it doesn’t “look like” it because Trump is tapping lobbyists to help run his administration?