Trump names Mick Mulvaney as interim Chief of Staff
Washington, Dec 15: US President Donald Trump has named his budget director Mick Mulvaney as interim White House chief of staff, putting a halt to a chaotic search to who will take over one of the most important positions in the federal government.
The US president tweeted on Friday that Mulvaney “has done an outstanding job” in his administration and would take over from John Kelly in the new year.
“I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction,” Trump tweeted.
Kelly leaves the White House month end. Trump’s announcement comes amidst reports that several of the potential candidates for this powerful White House position had turned down the offer.
White House denied such reports, with Trump insisting that several candidates are under consideration.
“For the record, there were many people who wanted to be the White House Chief of Staff. Mick M will do a great job!” he said.
Trump said Mulvaney, a hard-line conservative and former congressman from South Carolina with a deep understanding of how Congress works, has done an outstanding job while in the administration.
“I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to make America great again! John will be staying until the end of the year. He is a great patriot and I want to personally thank him for his service!” Trump tweeted.
Meanwhile, the White House said Mulvaney will not resign as the Director of Office of Management of Budget.
“Mick Mulvaney will not resign from the Office Of Management and Budget, but will spend all of his time devoted to his role as the acting Chief Of Staff for the President. Russ Vought will handle day to day operations and run OMB,” the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
Later a senior administration official told reporters at the White House that Mulvaney being named acting chief of staff has no time limit. “There’s no time limit. He’s the acting chief of staff, which means he’s the chief of staff. He got picked because the president liked him they get along,” the official said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity the official cited Mulvaney’s experience as a former member of Congress.
“He knows Congress. He knows Capitol Hill,” the official said of Mulvaney. The official also said Mulvaney is “fiscally responsible.”
According to the official Kelly was pleased with his successor. “The current chief is happy. The current chief is fine. The current chief will stay till the end of the year,” the official said.
The official said Ross Vought will be Mulvaney’s replacement as director of OMB. Mulvaney’s replacement leading the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection had already been sworn in. Mulvaney was at the White House earlier today and met with Trump.
“Mick was over here today working on budget stuff. … They met face to face this afternoon,” the official said.
The official was questioned about why Mulvaney was named the acting chief of staff rather than simply chief of staff. “Because that’s what the president wants,” the official said.
Another senior administration official argued the same.
“We’ll see,” the other official said. “It’s what the president wants right now and, if we have anything else we’ll let you know.”
Trump announced last week that Kelly, who served in the post for more than a year, would soon be departing. His first choice was Nick Ayers, the vice-president’s chief of staff, who bowed out after being unable to come to an agreement on how long he would serve in the post.
Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, lasted only six months amid White House chaos.