Donald Trump backing away from 'Drain the Swamp,' Newt Gingrich says

President-elect Donald Trump is abandoning his "drain the swamp" mantra as he builds his administration and prepares to take the oath of office, according to Trump ally and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich, who throughout the campaign and since the election has taken on the role of a Trump ambassador, told NPR in remarks published Wednesday that he noticed the president-elect has shifted away from some of his campaign trail rhetoric.

The "drain the swamp" line – encapsulating Trump's plans to turn official Washington on its head – became a fixture of Trump stump speeches, while "lock her up" – referring to his opponent Hillary Clinton's long-simmering email server problems – was a favorite chant of Trump supporters.

RELATED: Newt Gingrich through the years

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Newt Gingrich through the years
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Newt Gingrich through the years
UNITED STATES FILE PHOTO: Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., gives a lecture on Sept. 18, 1993 during the first day of his 'Renewing American Civilization' course taught in fall 1993 at Kennesaw State College in Kennesaw, Ga. The course later became part of Congressional ethics violation charges leveled against Gingrich in 1996. (Photo by Bill Clark/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 5: Newt Gingrich(L), speaker of the US House of Representatives, laughs as US President Bill Clinton(R) looks on during a meeting of the bi-partisan leadership of Congress 05 January at the White House. The day after the opening session of the 104th Congress, Republicans and Democrats met with Clinton to discuss the legislative agenda. (COLOR KEY: Red in ties.) (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
CLAREMONT, NH - JUNE 11: President William Jefferson Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, share a laugh at a meeting held at a senior citizens center in Claremont, N.H. (Photo by John Bohn/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
ME.Gingrich.Newt.RDL (kodak) House speaker Newt Gingrich greets supporters at a fundÂraiser at the Anaheim Hilton and Towers in Anaheim. TIMES (Photo by Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 15: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., speaks during the ceremony to unveil his portrait in Statuary Hall. (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 17: (AFP OUT) Former U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) (L) speaks as he is interviewed by moderator Tim Russert (R) during a taping of 'Meet the Press' at the NBC studios December 17, 2006 in Washington, DC. Gingrich spoke on various topics including the war in Iraq and the 2008 Presidential election. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 06: Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich attend the 32nd Kennedy Center Honors at Kennedy Center Hall of States on December 6, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
MANCHESTER, NH - JANUARY 07: Republican presidential candidates (L-R) former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry participate in the ABC News, Yahoo! News, and WMUR Republican Presidential Debate at Saint Anselm College January 7, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The GOP contenders are in the final stretch of campaigning for the New Hampshire primary, the first in the nation, to be held on January 10. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WOLFEBORO, NH - JANUARY 07: Republican presidential candidate, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich speaks during a campaign town hall meeting at the Wright Museum January 7, 2012 in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. According to a CNN/Time/ORC poll released Friday, Gingrich has dropped from 43-percent in December to 17-percent, putting him even with fellow candidate, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. However, both are trailing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney who is polling at 37-percent. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Republican presidential hopefuls, former Massachusetts Govenor Mitt Romney (L), former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, take the stage for the NBC News, Tampa Bay Times, National Journal Republican Presidential Candidates Debate at the University of South Florida, January 23, 2012, Tampa, Florida. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential hopeful, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, delivers remarks during a Hispanic Town Hall January 28, 2012 at the Centro de la Familia church in Orlando, Florida AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GettyImages)
MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich laugh as they participate in a debate sponsored by CNN and the Republican Party of Arizona at the Mesa Arts Center February 22, 2012 in Mesa, Arizona. The debate is the last one scheduled before voters head to the polls in Michigan and Arizona's primaries on February 28 and Super Tuesday on March 6. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich speak during a tribute to former president Ronald Reagan at the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) -- Episode 4289 -- Pictured: (l-r) Newt Gingrich, Nicole 'Snookie' Polizzi, Callista Gingrich backstage on July 18, 2012 -- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 27: Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) addresses the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) February 27, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland. Conservative activists attended the annual political conference to discuss their agenda. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright(L) and Newt Gingrich attend The Washington Post White House Correspondents' Pre-Dinner Reception at The Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH- JULY 6: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R) introduces Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump is campaigning in Ohio ahead of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH- JULY 6: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R) introduces Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump is campaigning in Ohio ahead of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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"I'm told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore," Gingrich said of the "drain the swamp" refrain in the "Morning Edition" interview. "I'd written what I thought was a very cute tweet about 'the alligators are complaining,' and somebody wrote back and said they were tired of hearing this stuff."

Trump also has noticeably backed away from a campaign trail promise to appoint a special prosecutor who, in the hopes of many of his supporters and allies, might produce a criminal indictment against Clinton in connection with her use of a private email server while secretary of state or her work with the Clinton Foundation. Federal prosecutors previously declined to pursue server-related charges against Clinton upon the FBI's recommendation that she not face any.

"I've noticed on a couple of fronts, like people chanting 'lock her up,' that he's in a different role now and maybe he feels that as president, as the next president of the United States, that he should be marginally more dignified than talking about alligators in swamps," Gingrich added. "I personally have, as a sense of humor, like the alligator and swamp language. ... I think it vividly illustrates the problem, because all the people in this city who are the alligators are going to hate the swamp being drained. And there's going to be constant fighting over it.

"But, you know, he is my leader and if he decides to drop the swamp and the alligator, I will drop the swamp and the alligator."

Critics say that, far from moving to rid influence peddlers from the White House's orbit, Trump's first wave of actions as president-elect – filling out his Cabinet and other senior staff positions – has instead done the opposite.

RELATED: Trump's official picks for cabinet and administration positions

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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions
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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Energy secretary: Rick Perry

(Photo credit KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

 REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief strategist: Steve Bannon

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

(Photo by Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)

White House counsel: Donald McGahn

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
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"I can't be bought," Trump said during the campaign. "I won't owe anybody anything."

Yet some Trump and GOP backers are cashing in: With a Cabinet collectively worth $13 billion and counting, the highest ranks of Trump's incoming administration include wealthy donors who helped bankroll his presidential bid.

All told, according to a Washington Post analysis earlier this month, six Trump picks – along with their families – together gave $11.6 million to Trump's campaign, his allied super PACs and the Republican National Committee.

The total includes $7.5 million tied to Linda McMahon, the World Wrestling Entertainment co-founder Trump has tapped to lead the Small Business Administration.

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