Tag Archives: Mick Mulvaney

Actually, Mr. Acting WH CoS, it is a big deal

The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, went on the record this morning by declaring that the kerfuffle over the USS John McCain is “much ado about nothing.”

It’s not a big deal, he told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd.

OK, actually it is a big deal, sir. It’s not the stuff of political cataclysms. But it’s a big enough deal for the Pentagon to implore the White House to stop politicizing the military.

You know the story. Donald Trump traveled to Japan for a state visit. The U.S. Navy, it has been confirmed, issued an order to hide the name of a U.S. destroyer, the USS John McCain, from the president’s view. Trump and the late senator from Arizona, Republican John McCain, were political adversaries. They had said some nasty things about each other. Trump once denigrated McCain’s heroic service as a Vietnam War prisoner by saying he was a hero “only because he was captured.”

The idea that the Navy — where McCain served with distinction until he entered politics in the early 1980s — would be used as a cudgel to beat on the namesake of a warship is an act of cheap politics. It has no place in the military.

The White House has said that Trump played no role in the shielding of the name. The president has said he “wouldn’t do that.” I’ll accept the denials of direct presidential involvement.

However, the matter is a big deal insofar as it dragged the military into a political dispute.

Once more, with extreme vigor: The men and women who serve in all branches of the military do not act as tools in political struggles; they take an oath to protect the rest of us from foreign adversaries.

Thus, the political directive that drags the military into the midst of a domestic dispute is a big deal.

Trump ‘is not a white supremacist’

Donald Trump deserves criticism for his tepid response to incidents involving white racists, bigots, nationalists, supremacists.

I am going to agree with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, though, when he defends the president by saying he “is not a white supremacist.”

Mulvaney made a talk-show appearance Sunday in which he defended the president’s speeches calling for religious liberty and individual liberty. He said also that Trump does not subscribe to the white supremacy doctrine.

I believe Mulvaney.

My wish is for the president to declare categorically, unequivocally and without an ounce of reservation that acts such as the horrific massacre in New Zealand the other day must be condemned with full-throated passion.

Trump doesn’t do that. He is unable or perhaps unwilling to speak to Americans about the evil of such acts. The president hasn’t yet found it within himself to declare open warfare against those who hate other human beings on racial, ethnic or religious grounds.

I want the president to say those things. He needs to speak to us candidly, frankly and with passion.

I do not believe he is a white supremacist, as Mulvaney has declared. However, he needs to demonstrate his willingness to condemn the actions of those groups that have cheered his election as president of the United States.

Just wondering: Who’s running the OMB?

I cannot stop thinking about the fellow who is serving as acting chief of staff at the White House.

Mick Mulvaney waltzed into the West Wing to take over as chief of staff after John Kelly was either (a) fired, (b) asked to quit or (c) resigned in a huff because he couldn’t control anything.

Donald Trump said Mulvaney would become “acting” chief of staff, which is strange on its face. Normally presidents wouldn’t have any difficulty finding a permanent COS. Mulvaney, though, already has a full-time job as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The OMB gig is a huge undertaking as it is.

Now he is running the White House per the president’s instruction.

Who, though, is running the OMB? Who is putting a pencil to the staggering deficit that is growing ominously, even though the president promised to bring the budget into balance — albeit over a serious length of time.

Does this mean, therefore, that we no longer have a permanent WH chief of staff and a director of the Office and Management and Budget? I keep wondering about who is minding the OMB store while the boss is at the White House trying to make sense of the chaos inside the West Wing.

WH chief of staff gets a dose of Trump

Donald Trump selected Mick Mulvaney to be the acting White House chief of staff to succeed John Kelly, who resigned far ahead of his announced timetable.

Mulvaney, who runs the Office of Management and Budget in his real day job, said upon his hiring that he planned to “let Trump be Trump.” He had no intention, or so he implied, of reeling in the president while trying to prevent him from some of his more impulsive behavior.

Well, it’s being reported that Mulvaney got a serious dose of the real Donald Trump during a White House meeting with Democratic congressional leaders. The group met ostensibly to find a way to reopen the government, which has been shut down partially for three weeks.

Trump reportedly dressed Mulvaney down in front of those congressional leaders, telling him to “Stop, stop, just stop. What are you doing? You’re f***ing it all up, MIck.”

There you go. That’s Trump being Trump, per the White House chief of staff’s stated desire. Is this what he really intended when he took the job on an “acting” basis? I think not.

Don’t misconstrue me here. I don’t feel sorry for Mulvaney. He’s a grownup who likely knew about the loony bin into which he was entering when he agreed to run the White House staff.

Still, what I find astounding is that the president of the United States would (allegedly) treat the chief of staff in that fashion in front of a roomful of politicians and other staffers. Then again, given the president’s lack of decorum or dignity at any level, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at all!

The White House chief of staff once was considered the plum of plum jobs in D.C. No longer. Not for as long as Donald Trump is president of the United States. He’s already burned through two chiefs of staff, Kelly and before him Reince Priebus. Kelly was brought in to bring a sense of order after Priebus was canned; indeed, Priebus couldn’t control the traffic in the Oval Office, just inflaming the chaos that dictates the flow within the White House.

Now we have Mulvaney perched in the White House hot seat. I’ve thought all along that an “acting” chief of staff cannot sustain himself over any length of time. I mean, Mulvaney already has a full-time gig at OMB, which is a huge job all by itself.

So now he gets pounded and pilloried by the president while the government remains shut down.

Great work if you can get it, right, Mick?

New WH chief of staff seeks to preserve his own sanity

I am going to hand it to Mick Mulvaney, the new “acting” White House chief of staff.

Whereas John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps four-star general, sought to bring a military-style discipline to the White House, Mulvaney isn’t even going to try that approach.

Politico reports that Mulvaney is going to let “Trump be Trump.”

There you go. Let Donald Trump run the White House the way he sees fit and hope against hope that it works out. Spoiler alert: It likely won’t.

However, Mulvaney — who once called Trump a “terrible human being” — will be able to maintain more than a semblance of his own sanity if he allows the president a relatively free rein in the West Wing of the White House.

Politico reports: Mulvaney will adopt a much larger role in politics and messaging, and plans to take a more laissez faire approach to some quirks of the Trump White House that irked Kelly — like non-essential staffers attending meetings, or the president frequently reaching out to longtime friends, Republican lawmakers and advisers for advice or dinners in the White House residence.

Is it a surprise, then, that Trump and Kelly have been barely speaking? Of course not.

I’m not sure what to make of the Mulvaney Doctrine in running the White House staff, except to believe that he’s basically going to cede day-to-day management to the Big Man himself.

I am wondering now whether Mulvaney is going to lobby the president for a permanent appointment in the White House. He now is ostensibly the head of the Office of Management and Budget. I presume he’ll hand OMB duties to someone else while he shows up for work in the White House.

Under normal circumstances, I would wish Mulvaney well as he embarks on a new challenge. These are far from normal times in the White House. The president is feeling the heat of multiple investigations bearing down on him. The White House staff reportedly is down in the dumps over the uncertainty and chaos.

I suppose the best I can hope for is that Mulvaney’s strategy at sanity preservation works for him.

An ‘acting’ WH chief of staff? Really, Mr. POTUS?

Welcome to the federal government’s executive branch loony bin, Mick Mulvaney.

Donald Trump has just named the current director of the Office of Management and Budget as the “acting” White House chief of staff. Mulvaney ostensibly will serve as the White House ringmaster until the president can find a permanent chief of staff to succeed John Kelly, who’s leaving the post at the end of the month.

This is a seriously bizarre move on the president’s part.

The White House chief of staff is supposed to seize the reins of the executive staff of the president. The chief, according to those who know these things, is the president’s alter ego. He or she is supposed to know the president’s every move. He or she is supposed to have the president’s full backing. The president is supposed to simply let the chief of staff handle matters that the Big Man doesn’t have time to handle.

Mulvaney already has a full time job at OMB, which is a big enough job as it is. Now he gets to spend part of his time pretending to be the White House chief of staff working at the pleasure of a president who — as we’ve seen many times already — has this incurable penchant for second-guessing the chief at every turn.

How in the world is Mulvaney going to bring a semblance of stability to a White House that is operating in full chaos mode?

The executive branch of government becomes the product of the man elected to lead that arm of government. Americans have elected someone in the person of Donald Trump who has zero understanding of how government is supposed to work. He doesn’t know a thing about public service and has no inclination to learn anything about it.

Good luck, Mick Mulvaney. You are going to need every bit of it you can find.

That is some defense of a ‘bad joke’

I guess you can stop referring to a White House aide’s tasteless and crass remark about a stricken war hero and U.S. senator as a “reported” or “alleged” utterance.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has confirmed that Kelly Sadler made the hideous statement about Sen. John McCain in a “private meeting” at the White House.

What did Sadler say? Well, Sen. McCain came out against CIA nominee Gina Haspel because of her role in torturing enemy combatants. McCain knows about torture, as he was subjected to years of it at then hands of his captors during the Vietnam War.

Sadler said McCain’s opposition to Haspel “doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.” Man, that’s a knee-slapper, ain’t it? No. It isn’t.

McCain is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. He is fighting for his life. For a minor-leaguer such as Sadler to say such a thing — even in telling a bad joke — is hideous in the extreme. These kinds of statements do have a way of slipping through the cracks and into the public domain.

Budget director Mulvaney is trying to excuse his colleague? Nice try, Mick. It won’t work.

What’s just as bad, though, is that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, has been silent on this matter.

Sickening.

The Hill reported: “You have to have freedom to speak in a private meeting. We have all said things in private … that we would never say publicly. I think she handled it appropriately,” Mulvaney said.

No, sir. She works for the public. As do you … and the president. Public figures should be smarter and more sensitive than what Kelly Sadler has demonstrated.

More chaos and confusion in the Trump administration

You’ve heard it said that the Trump administration “thrives” on chaos, that it cannot execute simple transitions without all hell breaking loose.

Consider the latest stumble-bum example from Donald John Trump’s presidential team.

Richard Corddray resigned as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; President Barack Obama appointed him to lead the agency created in 2010 in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. The law allows Corddray to appoint his successor, which he did when he named deputy director Leandra English to lead the agency.

Oh, no. You can’t do that, said Donald John “Smart Person” Trump, who then named Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as the interim head of he CFPB. Trump then instructed the agency to ignore any directives coming from English and act only on those coming from Mulvaney.

Hey, there’s a bit more. English has filed a lawsuit preventing Mulvaney from taking over.

The CFPB has been a Republican bogeyman ever since it was founded. The GOP contends it puts too many restrictions on banks.

From my standpoint — and acknowledging my own bias — this has the smell of yet another attempt to overturn an Obama-era agency reform. If the former president did it, the agency is a “disaster,” according to Trump, who attaches that term to any agency or program created by his predecessor that he wants to gut.

CFPB targets banks’ practices

Trump tweeted this: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has been a total disaster as run by the previous Administrations pick. Financial Institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public. We will bring it back to life!

My actual point, though, is that we are witnessing yet another clumsy, cumbersome cluster-fudge that illustrates once again — as if we need any reminders — that the Trump administration cannot do a single thing without making a total hash out of it.

Remember the term ‘co-equal branch’

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has laid down a marker to the U.S. Senate.

Lawmakers shouldn’t vote on anything else, he said, until they vote once again on a Republican-authored bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

There you have it. One branch of government is seeking to dictate to another branch how it does its job.

Hold on here, Mr. Budget Director.

Mulvaney ought to know better. He served in Congress before Donald John Trump tapped him as budget director. He used to fight on behalf of congressional prerogative, which is spelled out quite explicitly in that document called the United States Constitution.

The Constitution, furthermore, does not give the executive branch a single bit of authority over how the legislative branch conducts its business.

The term of art for more than two centuries has been that all three government branches are “co-equal.” That means they all have equal amounts of power. One branch cannot bully another branch.

“In the White House’s view, they can’t move on in the Senate,” Mulvaney said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “You can’t promise folks you’re going to do something for seven years, and then not do it.”

Got it, Mick. Do not, though, try to push senators around by laying out their legislative priorities for them. That’s their job. It’s in the Constitution. Really … it is!

They want to let ACA ‘explode’ before stepping in?

Donald J. Trump couldn’t have been clearer immediately after the Republican “alternative” to the Affordable Care Act went down in flames.

The president said he intends to let the ACA “explode” before doing anything else. That’s it. The president is ready to watch millions of Americans lose their health insurance the instant the existing health insurance plan disintegrates.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney echoed the president’s view this morning in an appearance on “Meet the Press.” Let it blow apart, he said. Then we’ll get busy with an alternative.

What a crock!

First of all, many of us doubt the Trump team’s belief that the ACA is doomed to fail. Millions of Americans keep signing up for health insurance covered by former President Obama’s signature domestic initiative. They’re continuing to purchase insurance they couldn’t afford until the ACA was enacted.

Yet we keep hearing assertions about the ACA suffering from a “death spiral.” That it’s doomed to croak.

I believe it’s good to remind congressional Republicans that they had nearly eight years to come up with an alternative to the ACA. They didn’t. They threw something together after their guy Trump took office.

Is it going to blow apart? The Trumpkins believe it will. I guess they’re entitled to their belief. However, if they’re so damn certain that the ACA will fail, why in the world are they waiting for the worst outcome before coming up with a way to improve it?

That isn’t leadership. It’s petulance.