Trump’s new chief of staff is a Tea Party man who lobbied for a job ‘no one wanted,’ reports say
But there could be only one out of an allegedly crowded field — and his name is Mick Mulvaney.
He was among the few people who lobbied for the White House job that “no one wanted,” according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
But other reports have suggested that he only wanted the position on an “acting” basis so that he’d have a safe exit in place, if he needed it.
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His appointment as acting White House chief of staff was announced Friday, after reports suggested that numerous high-profile candidates had dropped out of consideration.
Mulvaney called it a “tremendous honour” on Twitter.
This job will mark Mulvaney’s third in the Trump Administration.
He first entered politics when he was elected as a South Carolina congressman in 2006, and he served in the state legislature there until 2011.
Mulvaney was subsequently elected as a congressman for South Carolina’s 5th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving there from 2011 to 2017.
He was elected to Congress in 2010, at a time when the Tea Party movement was going strong.
Mulvaney has established a reputation as a hawk on government spending, repeatedly opposing spending agreements and standing against attempts by the U.S. government to raise its borrowing limit so that it wouldn’t default on its debt, The New York Times reported.
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He did this in 2011, when he opposed raising the debt ceiling as Republicans tried to coax then-president Barack Obama into accepting deep cuts in government spending, according to Politico.
Then, in 2013, he took a controversial stand as lawmakers looked to approve an aid package for Hurricane Sandy worth just over $50 billion, NJ.com reported.
The package had an underlying bill with $17 billion worth of spending that was meant to cover relief needs, according to the Washington Post.
Mulvaney proposed an amendment that would have offset that money by cutting 1.63 per cent of spending from every single government agency, including the military.
That amendment failed.
Mulvaney joined the Trump administration in 2017 as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which oversees implementation of the president’s vision throughout the Executive Branch.
Months later, Mulvaney would become embroiled in a battle over who would next lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an agency that aims to protect consumers from “unfair, deceptive or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law.”
Mulvaney and other Republicans had long seen the agency as an instance of overreach.
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CFPB director Richard Cordray stepped down from the bureau and named Leandra English as his successor in November 2017.
Trump subsequently named Mulvaney as acting director of the agency, touching off a conflict that found its way to federal court and ultimately left the president victorious.
Once in the job, Mulvaney stopped data collection for security reasons, directed employees to slash the agency’s budget and ended enforcement in some cases, Bloomberg reported.
He also wanted Congress to control its spending.
Mulvaney did all this in the name of transforming the CFPB into what he considered a “gold-standard” regulator such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Now acting White House chief of staff, Mulvaney is the latest in a series of high-profile names to be linked to the job.
Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, was considered but ultimately decided against taking the position.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was also linked to the position but dropped out of the running.
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Mulvaney has worked hard to forge a strong relationship with Trump since he became president, according to the New York Times — an attitude that contrasts strongly with comments he made about the president before he was elected, according to The Daily Beast.
At a 2016 debate in South Carolina, he said he was supporting Trump “but I’m doing so despite the fact that I think he’s a terrible human being.”
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that Mulvaney was one of the few choices for chief of staff who lobbied for the job openly, allegedly telling the president that he’s the only one leading an agency in his administration who wasn’t dogged by a scandal.
He’ll now serve the president in the job on an acting basis, but he won’t vacate his position as director of the OMB — responsibility for operations there will fall to deputy director Russ Vought, according to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The “acting” designation means he’ll have a “safe exit” in place, according to NBC News White House reporter Geoff Bennett.
- With files from The Associated Press
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