In his first speech since being fired, Preet Bharara, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, quashed rumors that he would run for political office.
"I don't have any plans to enter politics, just like I have no plans to join the circus ... and I mean no offense to the circus," he said in his address at Cooper Union in New York on Thursday.
He joked that he has not grown a post-employment beard since being ousted last month.
Bharara was part of a group of prosecutors asked to resign by the Justice Department. Bharara was subsequently fired after he refused. He said he didn't hand in his resignation because he wanted the record to show that there was a deliberate decision on the Trump administration's part to change its mind and fire him.
In an interview with The New York Times published ahead of his remarks, Bharara said his "out of the blue" removal was "a direct example of the kind of uncertain helter-skelter incompetence" that has become a hallmark of Donald Trump's young presidency.
At Cooper Union, Bharara said he still isn't sure why he was fired and doesn't understand why his removal was "such a big deal" for the White House, given that Trump is known widely for his catchphrase on "The Apprentice" — "You're fired."
"I would have thought that was what Donald Trump was good at. I had thought that's in part how he got to be the President," Bharara said.
In his Thursday speech, Bharara repeatedly made pointed remarks at the President.
"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, not so much about truth,
While he admitted "there is a swamp" and that "a lot of the system is rigged," Bharara said that a slogan isn't sufficient.
"You don't drain it by replacing one set of partisans with another. You don't replace muck with muck," he said.
He said, however, that he has full confidence in the people who still work in the office, including acting U.S. attorney Joon Kim. He is also not worried that his firing will affect any particular ongoing investigations or cases.