Former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara took several shots at the administration of President Donald Trump on April 6th calling for “facts not falsehoods” as the basis for political discourse and a more welcoming stance towards immigrants in his first public speaking event since being fired one month ago.
Bharara sprinkled the hour-long speech with humor, including a joke about the size of the crowd clearly aimed at Trump. But Bharara also made a series of thinly veiled criticisms of the new administration, referring multiple times to Trump’s campaign pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington. “You don’t drain a swamp with a slogan. You don’t drain it by replacing one set of partisans with another. You don’t replace muck with muck,” Bharara, 48, said at the Cooper Union in New York.
“To drain a swamp you need an army corps of engineers, experts schooled in service and serious purpose. Not do-nothing, say-anything, neophyte opportunists who know a lot about how to bully and bluster but not so much about truth, justice and fairness.”
Bharara was fired by Trump on March 11 after refusing to step down. While he was among 46 U.S. attorneys told to submit their resignations, his dismissal was a surprise because Trump had asked him in November to stay in the job.
In his first public appearance since being fired, Indian American former top federal prosecutor Preet Bharara took swipes at President Donald Trump. “To drain a swamp you need an army corps of engineers, experts schooled in service and serious purpose, not do-nothing, say-anything neophyte opportunists who know a lot about how to bully and bluster but not so much about truth, justice and fairness. Draining a swamp takes genuine commitment to justice and fairness and not attention to what benefits one group over another or divides one group against another,” he said.
Bharara acknowledged the presence of some of his former colleagues, including some from his press office who he said “were the only people who stood between me and the dishonest media,” in another swipe at Trump. “That’s called tongue and cheek,” Bharara said.
He also thanked New York University’s School of Law for giving him a job as the distinguished scholar in residence. “My father-in-law was really happy to hear that I was going to have a job,” he said. During the lecture, Bharara reflected on his time as Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor and his office’s accomplishments in rooting out corruption and fighting terrorism and insider trading cases. Even when Bharara was in office, he repeatedly dismissed speculation that he will eventually run for public office and reiterated that he will not enter politics. “I don’t have any plans to enter politics just like I had no plans to join the circus. I mean no offense to the circus,” he said to laughter from the audience. Bharara called on American citizens to unite and continue the fight against injustice, saying active citizenship matters and is “desperately needed now more than ever, individually and collectively.”