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Mick Mulvaney: Chief of Sycophants


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"Mick Mulvaney’s latest effort to whitewash Trump’s failures is a joke"

Spoiler

By all indications, President Trump is in the process of cutting off large infusions of aid to the three “Northern Triangle” countries. Their offense? Not doing enough to mitigate the catastrophic failures of his own immigration agenda.

We already know Trump is extraordinarily sensitive to spikes in people crossing our southern border, which he views as a metric by which his presidency will be judged. Last spring, such a rise caused him to erupt in a fury at his homeland security secretary.

Now that we’re seeing another big spike in border-crossings, one largely driven by asylum-seeking families, Trump is retaliating by cutting off aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Trump wants them to do more to prevent people from migrating north into Mexico en route to the United States.

The task of defending this action has fallen largely to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. In so doing, however, Mulvaney has actually demonstrated just how glaring Trump’s failures on his signature issue have really been.

This exchange between Mulvaney and CNN’s Jake Tapper is highly instructive:

TAPPER: Your own border experts in your own administration say that investing in those countries is working. For instance, in El Salvador, USAID money has gone to El Salvador. The homicide rate has gone down and migration from El Salvador has gone down as well.

Isn’t this also self-defeating? Taking away aid from those countries ultimately will make the migration crisis worse.

MULVANEY: Look, there’s a lot of good ways to help solve this problem. ... Honduras could do more. Nicaragua could do more. El Salvador could do more. And if we’re going to give these countries hundreds of millions of dollars, we would like them to do more. ...

We could prevent a lot of what’s happening on the southern border by preventing people from moving into Mexico in the first place. And that’s what...

TAPPER: Right, but that’s the USAID money does, is it makes those countries more stable. This is not according to me. This is according to experts in your own administration.

MULVANEY: Okay, career staffers, but let’s talk about — let’s talk about that for a second.

If it’s working so well, why are the people still coming? ... I think at least now people are starting to realize that we were not exaggerating a couple months ago, when we had this nationwide debate about the wall.

First, Mulvaney’s sneer that only “career staffers” are claiming aid helps stabilize those countries is absurdly dismissive. After all, this includes Trump’s own Customs and Border Protection commissioner, Kevin McAleenan, who has repeatedly said this.

In December, McAleenan told ABC News that a then-new State Department plan to increase aid to those countries is a “tremendous step forward,” because investments in improving both the security and economic conditions there would improve migrants’ “opportunities to stay at home.”

More recently, in March, McAleenan told reporters: “We need to continue to support the governments in Central America to improve economic opportunities to address poverty and hunger and to improve governance and security.”

In saying these things, Trump’s own border chief is stating what is now widely understood: These migration surges are largely driven by terrible civil conditions at home. Thus, what is called for above all is a regional strategy designed to discourage them in the first place. People who have worked on this problem in multiple administrations agree with this.

“Resources from the United States are vital if we’re going to create the conditions that allow people to stay,” Cecilia Muñoz, who oversaw the Obama administration’s responses to these surges beginning in 2014, told me. “Cutting off resources that are allowing these countries to make progress — to say that this is cutting off our nose to spite our face doesn’t even begin to cover it. More people are likely to do the desperate thing, which is migrate.”

Weak responses

Mulvaney’s responses in this regard are startlingly weak. He claims the cutoff is designed to get countries to do more to keep people from migrating. But as one former U.S. ambassador to Honduras notes, the use of this aid as leverage is misguided, since much doesn’t go directly to governments but rather is administered by nonprofit groups via U.S. programs. And those governments can’t block people from migrating.

But that aside, Mulvaney’s claim still skirts the core issue, which is that cutting off aid will set back to an untold degree efforts to discourage migrations by addressing their causes. Mulvaney questions that very premise, by asking why aid isn’t reducing these surges. But the State Department only just announced its latest aid package a few months ago.

And if anything, Mulvaney’s answer only underscores the fact that the conditions causing these migrations are dire indeed — which argues for increased efforts to address them. That’s precisely why Trump’s own border chief is saying we need to keep those efforts going, and build on them.

A much deeper failure

At bottom, Mulvaney’s defense of Trump’s latest rage-policy points to a much deeper failure at the core of Trump’s whole immigration worldview: the idea that migration surges can only be the result of efforts by migrants and/or their home countries to rip us off and take advantage of us.

Adam Serwer likes to say that the “cruelty” of Trump’s policies "is the point.” That’s true, but so is the worldview animating that cruelty. This double-sided depiction of what’s driving these migrations is absolutely foundational to Trumpism. In his 2015 announcement speech, Trump didn’t merely call Mexican immigrants rapists; he also accused Mexico of sending them our way.

Nothing has changed: Trump is now thrilling rally crowds by mocking asylum seekers. But note why he’s mocking them: for supposedly hyping the conditions in their home countries — again, to scam us. This justifies both the underlying bigotry and Trumpian solutions that are cruelly punitive and defensive: He will discourage migrations by making migrants as miserable as possible (family separations), and by walling them out. He will compel other countries (“s---hole countries” that are foisting their criminal outcasts onto us) to somehow detain their migrants by withholding aid from them.

But none of Trump’s prescriptions are working. The family separations didn’t cause a slowdown in migration, because the terrible conditions at home are a primary impetus. Nor will Trump’s wall make a difference. Geographical realities dictate that more barriers will not stop migrants from setting foot on U.S. soil, and besides, they are largely turning themselves in to apply for asylum in any case.

In this context, it’s absurd for Mulvaney to be pointing to the latest migrations as vindication for claims of a national emergency to build the wall. Precisely the opposite is true: The migrations underscore the utter failure of the very worldview that imagines this to be a “solution.”

Will Bunch argues provocatively that Trump might not even mind failing here: More chaos at the border, leading to more cruel imagery (such as migrants penned under an El Paso bridge) and ever more cruel responses, will galvanize the base into 2020. It’s a measure of how low we’ve sunk that this cannot be dismissed out of hand: Remember, Trump reportedly claimed of family separations that “my people love it.”

But all the cruelty and failure caused a massive backlash in 2018, helping cost Republicans the House. And it looks as if the border is going to get worse before it gets better — a lot worse, now that Trump appears determined to make it so.

I figured that Mulvaney "deserves" his own thread, since he has lasted more than two Mooches in the chief of staff position. I'm sure a big part of his relative longevity is his blind adoration of the orange menace. I didn't like him when he was in congress, I still don't like him.

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"What Mick Mulvaney tells us about today’s GOP"

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Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney got banged around Sunday for insisting that while the White House is acting to void all of the Affordable Care Act, it will protect those with preexisting conditions.

It didn’t go well for him on CNN:

TAPPER: Now, more than 20 million Americans are poised to lose their health-care insurance if the courts side with you.

What is your plan for those Americans who will lose their health insurance?

MULVANEY: Well, a couple different things about that. What -- what you have just said at the beginning there is not accurate. I won’t go into all of the discussions we had in the White House. But there’s absolutely zero daylight between the president and the vice president on this issue. Both of them campaigned on Obamacare being unconstitutional. . . .

We're going to give people the choices that they want, the affordability that they need, and the quality that they deserve. We have said that from the very beginning. Every...

TAPPER: Right, but where's the plan?

MULVANEY: Well, we're -- we're doing the same thing on this that we did with taxes.

Remember, when we started with taxes, people criticized us for not giving enough details. What did we do? We sent principles to the Hill. I think it was one or two pages. And from that, following the proper legislative process, we got a tremendous tax bill that passed into law, also got rid of the individual mandate at that time just as an added benefit. . . .

TAPPER: No, but here’s the thing.

Here -- yes, the Republican bills talk about protecting people with preexisting conditions. The difference between that and Obamacare is Obamacare says, we're protecting people with preexisting conditions. Just like the Republican plan, you cannot deny somebody health insurance because they have a preexisting condition.

The difference with the Obamacare plan is they say, and you can't charge those people more in insurance premiums. The Republican plans do not do that.

MULVANEY: Well, let's talk about that for a second. Let's talk about what Obamacare does. And let's talk about why the Democrats felt so incumbent upon themselves to offer plans to improve Obamacare, because they know it's broken.

Look, I used to be on Obamacare when I was a member of Congress. Don't believe the stories about how we exempted ourselves. The deductibility was tens thousands -- was over $10,000 for my family.

TAPPER: But let's talk about the preexisting conditions. You were talking about the preexisting conditions.

MULVANEY: Yes, then let's talk about it.

TAPPER: Let's talk about that.

MULVANEY: Let's talk about preexisting conditions.

If you have got a preexisting condition and you have to pay $2,000 or $3,000 a month for your premium, $10,000 for a deductible, you're talking about $25,000, $30,000 a year out-of-pocket expenses. That's not affordable care, even for folks with preexisting conditions.

Obamacare does not work. Even the Democrats admit that right now. Face it, there were tens of millions of people who were paying a fine, paying a fee, rather than take Obamacare.

That's people telling you it doesn't work. We know it. They know it. It's just a question of who's got the better idea for how to fix it.

TAPPER: But you're not addressing the idea -- first of all, larger picture here, there is no Republican plan right now. You're talking about how you want one, but there is no Republican plan right now.

You personally, as well as Republicans in Congress, have been opposing Obamacare for a decade as of this year, and yet you're talking about -- you're taking legal action to remove Obamacare, to kill Obamacare, with no replacement for these tens of millions of Americans.

MULVANEY: Now, keep in mind, the lawsuit is actually filed by 20 states' attorneys general, and they were the ones who came forward and said...

TAPPER: Right, and the administration joined it.

MULVANEY: Yes, we did. We joined that today.

But the lawsuit -- we didn’t file a lawsuit to get rid of Obamacare. We simply looked at the Constitution, said, you know what? The state attorney generals are correct. . . .

TAPPER: But wouldn't it be responsible to have the replacement there before you take the insurance away from the individuals, the tens of millions of Americans who are relying on it?

MULVANEY: Would it be responsible for the Democrats to pass a decent bill in the first place? They didn't do that. They admit that.

TAPPER: But I’m not talking about 2009. I’m talking about 2019.

MULVANEY: I'm talking about today.

No, the Democrats just introduced a bill this week to supposedly fix Obamacare, because they know it's broken. I know that didn't get a lot of coverage, but that actually happened. By the way, their answer is, spend a lot more money, let the government do more things.

TAPPER: But you don't have a plan. But you don't have a plan.

You're talking about taking away insurance from tens of millions of Americans, and you don't have a plan ready for them.

MULVANEY: Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

Talk about taking care -- we're -- we're talking about passing something...

TAPPER: Ending Obamacare.

MULVANEY: ... that is constitutional.

TAPPER: Right.

MULVANEY: Right. If the courts are right that -- and keep in mind, Obamacare lost at the -- at the trial court level. . . . Even if you like that piece of legislation, you don’t get to keep a law just because you like it if it’s unconstitutional. We’re trying to fix that.

So, no, don't -- don't tell me that we're taking action to try and kick people off of health care. That's not correct. What we're trying to do is pass a piece of legislation that meets the requirements of the United States Constitution.

TAPPER: Yes, but you haven’t introduced legislation.

Mulvaney did not have an answer to satisfy those concerned they’ll be left in the lurch, because there is no answer. The president is recklessly endangering 20 million people who rely on Obamacare. He has no alternative; each alternative previously dreamed up proved to be extremely unpopular. Seeing this, the American people punished House Republicans at the polls and returned Democrats to power.

It’s hard to dispute the Democrats’ claim that the GOP cares more about Sean Hannity and whipping its base into a fury than protecting vulnerable Americans worried about health care. Democrats should remind voters of this repeatedly — as they did in the run-up to their 2018 election romp.

Trump’s party is now about Trump’s vindication, Trump’s vendetta against the media and Trump’s determination to prove himself “exonerated” despite Robert S. Mueller III’s statement excerpted by the attorney general that he was not exonerating Trump.

Here again, Mulvaney reveals just how morally depraved is this administration. Mulvaney repeated the lie that Trump was entirely exonerated of both collusion and obstruction. Tapper corrected him, and it went downhill from there after he played a clip of House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) talking about Trump and his campaign’s association with Russians (“I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic. And, yes, I think it’s corrupt and evidence of collusion. . . . I do not think that conduct, criminal or not, is okay.”):

TAPPER: Now, from what we know, the special counsel concluded there is not sufficient evidence for any criminal charges having to do with conspiracy or collusion.

But what do you think about his larger point that the actions were unethical?

MULVANEY: Keep in mind that everything Adam that just talked about -- and I know Adam. I used to serve with him in Congress.

Everything that he just listed right there was available to Mr. Mueller, in fact, probably in greater detail than Adam goes into right there, and yet Mr. Mueller found no collusion and no obstruction.

TAPPER: Right, not a crime, but what about the ethics or morality of those things, those incidents?

MULVANEY: Again, the -- the -- the issue is not whether it’s ethical. . . .

TAPPER: All I'm saying here is that you're setting the bar on criminal charges or evidence of conspiracy. And I agree with what you're saying, that there is none there.

But he’s talking about ethics and morality. And you’re saying, that’s not his job. Okay, fair enough.

MULVANEY: Right.

TAPPER: But forgetting Adam Schiff for a second, what about the larger point about ethics and morality?

MULVANEY: Well, I think -- I think the voters are going to decide about the ethics and morality of the people they vote for on either side. ...

A lot of folks, including this station, said, give Mueller the time, give him -- let him do his job. But the decision is in. The president did not collude and did not obstruct. It’s time to move on.

Mulvaney then launched into a whataboutism argument concerning Bill Clinton.

Well, we couldn’t have said it any better: The Trump administration is utterly unconcerned with ethics. Betraying the country? Encouraging hacking? Lying to voters? Pish-posh. If it’s not indictable, the president feels he’s got a clean bill of health.

To be clear, Mueller apparently confirmed that Russia did try to interfere with our election both through social media and hacking emails that were then released by WikiLeaks. The Trump campaign had been warned about Russian attempts to interfere with our election. And yet the campaign had more than 100 contacts with Russians and never reported any of this to the FBI. Trump publicly called for Russia to hack and release Hillary Clinton’s emails. Maybe Trump wasn’t colluding, but he and his team were signaling their willingness to accept Russian help, lying about contacts with Russia, lying about his financial interest in doing a deal in Russia and inviting a hostile power to help him win the election.

Perhaps there is no law against that, or perhaps there is one under which he can be indicted after he leaves office. However, if Mueller’s report contains merely Trump’s public conduct and matters in legal filings — in other words, Trump misled the public and welcomed a hostile power’s help — it’s hard to argue with a straight face that Trump was vindicated. And yet, that is precisely what Republicans do these days.

In league with an international foe? Carry Russian propaganda to help you with a hotel deal? Try to interfere with an investigation? Only a party as soulless and lacking in adherence to democratic principles could shrug and declare exoneration. That doesn’t mean the rest of us have to — or that such a character deserves a day more in office past his existing term.

 

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Yes, I think Mulvaney will have staying power like Kellyanne, in that he can lie straight faced with great conviction.  He's smart and  and believes in the cause -- not Trump, but the larger cause, while using Trump as a means to an end. 

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Guys, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Mulvany only acting chief of staff? 

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On 4/5/2019 at 10:52 AM, fraurosena said:

Guys, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Mulvany only acting chief of staff? 

Yes, but it seems Dumpy is populating the executive branch with "acting" appointees to try and weaken the government.

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Mulvaney was on Faux today (Sunday) declaring that the Dems will "never" get Trumpy's tax returns.  He may be confident that whoever has the final say has already capitulated.  Or he's bluffing.  There will most certainly be lawsuits and legal battles. 

However, if Trump's tax preparers are willing to turn over 10 years of Trump's tax returns (they have said they would) when they get the friendly subpoena (this week?), it may be a moot point. 

Edited by Howl
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  • 4 weeks later...

 

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Yeah, Mulvaney was selected as "acting" CoS for a reason:   zero moral compass. 

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  • 1 month later...

I so despise the creep: "Mick Mulvaney fires all 25 members of consumer watchdog’s advisory board"

Spoiler

Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, fired the agency’s 25-member advisory board Wednesday, days after some of its members criticized his leadership of the watchdog agency.

The CFPB said it will revamp the Consumer Advisory Board, known as the CAB, in the fall with all new members.

The panel has traditionally played an influential role in advising the CFPB’s leadership on new regulations and policies. But some members, who include prominent consumer advocates, academics and industry executives, began to complain that Mulvaney was ignoring them and making unwise decisions about the agency’s future.

On Monday, 11 CAB members held a news conference and criticized Mulvaney for, among other things, canceling legally required meetings with the group.

On Wednesday, group members were notified that they were being replaced — and that they could not reapply for spots on the new board.

In a statement, the agency’s spokesman, John Czwartacki, took a final swipe at the group. “The outspoken members of the Consumer Advisory Board seem more concerned about protecting their taxpayer funded junkets to Washington, D.C., and being wined and dined by the Bureau than protecting consumers,” he said.

Revamping the board is part of the CFPB’s new approach to reaching out to stakeholders to “increase high quality feedback,” the bureau said in an email to the group. The CFPB will hold more town halls and roundtable discussions, the letter said, and the new CAB will have fewer members.

But the dismissal of the members is likely to exacerbate concerns among Democrats that Mulvaney is weakening the consumer watchdog.

“Mick Mulvaney has no intention of putting consumers above financial firms that cheat them. This is what happens when you put someone in charge of an agency they think shouldn’t exist,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who helped conceive of the bureau, said in a statement.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said: “Mulvaney has proven once again he would rather cozy up with payday lenders and industry insiders than listen to consumer advocates who want to make sure hard-working Americans are not cheated by financial scams.”

As a congressman, Mulvaney repeatedly criticized the agency, calling it a “joke” and saying it needed to be reined in. Since being appointed acting director by President Trump in November, Mulvaney has launched a top-to-bottom review of the bureau’s operations, stripped enforcement powers from a CFPB unit responsible for pursuing discrimination cases and proposed that lawmakers curb the agency’s powers.

Last week, Mulvaney sided with payday lenders who sued the CFPB to block implementation of new industry regulations. The CFPB filed a joint motion with the payday lenders asking the judge to delay the case until the bureau completes a review of the rules, which could take years.

“Firing current members of the advisory board is a huge red flag in this administration’s ongoing erosion of critical consumer financial protections that help average families,” said Chi Chi Wu, an attorney for the National Consumer Law Center who has been a board member since 2016.

The Consumer Advisory Board is required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law. Members also included the head of retail banking at Citi, the founder of NerdWallet and a director at Texas Appleseed, a public interest law center. Members of two other boards — the Community Bank Advisory Council and the Credit Union Advisory Council — were also dismissed.

In a 30-minute call Wednesday morning to announce the move, a CFPB official sparred with some board members surprised by the decision. “We’ve decided we’re going to start the advisory groups with new membership, to bring in these new perspectives and new dialogue,” said Anthony Welcher, the CFPB’s policy associate director for external affairs, according to a recording of the call obtained by The Washington Post.

During the call, Welcher said revamping the CAB would save the agency “multi-hundred-thousand dollars a year” by not having its periodic meetings in Washington. But several board members objected, noting that they would be willing to pay their own way to attend the meetings.

“The new bureau leadership has never met with any of us to determine, and even have a sense of, whether this is valuable advice that the bureau is receiving,” said Josh Zinner, chief executive of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

The board met with Mulvaney’s predecessor, Richard Cordray, three times a year, according to several members. But Mulvaney repeatedly canceled meetings, citing his busy schedule. In addition to leading the CFPB, Mulvaney is the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Their dismissal “is another move indicating Acting Director Mick Mulvaney is only interested in obtaining views from his inner circle, and has no interest in hearing the perspectives of those who work with struggling American families,” said Ann Baddour, chair of the CAB and director of the Fair Financial Services Project at Texas Appleseed.

 

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"‘His own fiefdom’: Mulvaney builds ‘an empire for the right wing’ as Trump’s chief of staff"

Spoiler

Mick Mulvaney’s battles with Alexander Acosta began almost immediately.

Weeks after he was named acting White House chief of staff, Mulvaney summoned the labor secretary for a tense January encounter that became known inside the West Wing as “the woodshed meeting.”

Mulvaney told Acosta in blunt terms that the White House believed he was dragging his feet on regulation rollbacks desired by business interests and that he was on thin ice as a result, according to advisers and a person close to the White House. Soon after, Acosta proposed a spate of business-friendly rules on overtime pay and other policies.

But it wasn’t enough to save Acosta from Mulvaney’s ire — and helps explain why the former federal prosecutor had such tepid administration support last week as he resigned over his handling of a high-profile sex-crimes case more than a decade ago.

The episode illustrates the growing influence wielded by Mulvaney, a former tea party lawmaker who has built what one senior administration official called “his own fiefdom” centered on pushing conservative policies — while mostly steering clear of the Trump-related pitfalls that tripped up his predecessors by employing a “Let Trump be Trump” ethos.

This account of Mulvaney’s rising power is based on interviews with 32 White House aides, ­current and former administration officials, lawmakers and legislative staffers, some of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly. Mulvaney and the White House declined to make him available for an interview.

Mulvaney — who is technically on leave from his first administration job as budget director — spends considerably less time with Trump than his two previous chiefs of staff, Reince Priebus and John F. Kelly. And the president has sometimes kept him out of the loop when making contentious foreign policy decisions, advisers say. At a recent donor retreat in Chicago, Mulvaney told attendees that he does not seek to control the president’s tweeting, time or family, one attendee said. Priebus and Kelly had clashed with the president over his Twitter statements and the influence of his eldest daughter and her husband, who are senior advisers.

Instead, Mulvaney has focused much of his energy on creating a new White House power center revolving around the long-dormant Domestic Policy Council and encompassing broad swaths of the administration. One White House official described Mulvaney as “building an empire for the right wing.”

He has helped install more than a dozen ideologically aligned advisers in the West Wing since his December hiring. Cabinet members are pressed weekly on what regulations they can strip from the books and have been told their performance will be judged on how many they remove. Policy and spending decisions are now made by the White House and dictated to Cabinet agencies, instead of vice versa. When Mulvaney cannot be in the Oval Office for a policy meeting, one of his allies is usually there.

“You have a chief of staff with a professional commitment to ensuring that a real policy agenda gets enacted,” said Charmaine Yoest, who served in senior roles in the Trump White House and at Health and Human Services before moving to the Heritage Foundation. “You’ve got to dig in, chart a path forward and stay committed to it, and we welcome his serious approach to policymaking.”

But Mulvaney also faces significant obstacles on Capitol Hill, where he made enemies on both sides of the aisle during his three terms as a bomb-throwing House conservative. Democrats openly disdain him as a saboteur, while many key Republicans distrust his willingness to compromise, particularly on fiscal policy. Some GOP senators freely signal they would rather deal with any other administration official than him.

Mulvaney spends more time in his office than his predecessors, feeling no need to sit in on all of Trump’s meetings. He regularly huddles with Joe Grogan, a hard-liner who now leads the domestic council, and Russell T. Vought, a conservative ally who runs the Office of Management and Budget in Mulvaney’s absence. 

Advisers say a whiteboard in Mulvaney’s office has two items with stars beside them: immigration and health care. Immigration, however, is largely left to top White House adviser Stephen Miller and, to a lesser extent, presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, with dim prospects for significant legislation on Capitol Hill. Passing any kind of health-care bill before the 2020 election is also unlikely, aides say, while budget cuts sought by Vought have died quickly in Congress.

Mulvaney’s biggest successes so far have come in deregulation efforts, where he prods agencies to move faster in case Trump loses or Democrats win the Senate in 2020, advisers say.

Aside from the domestic policy shop, Mulvaney has also tapped allies to fill roles in the White House’s legislative affairs operation, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and his old haunts at the OMB. He regularly suggests ideas to all of them.

“What I am seeing is that Mulvaney cares about the domestic agencies much more than the prior chiefs of staff did,” said Tammy McCutchen, a former Labor Department official in the George W. Bush administration who is now a partner at the Littler Mendelson law firm. “They’re holding the agencies accountable to move forward on regulations.”

In the past two months, he has forced out the chiefs of staff at Health and Human Services and the Labor Department amid policy disputes with them and their respective secretaries. Mulvaney and Grogan have repeatedly clashed with HHS Secretary Alex Azar, overruling him, for example, on ending the funding of medical research by government scientists using fetal tissue.

Emma Doyle, Mulvaney’s deputy, has sought to control all presidential events and the president’s schedule — asking officials to submit formal proposals for why they should be in the room and controlling who is usually in the room. She also leads a weekly meeting on presidential events. Doyle was recently in charge of a review of the president’s immigration agencies and led a months-long hunt earlier this year for who was leaking the president’s internal schedules. 

“Everything is controlled. The only people not under his thumb are Kudlow and Bolton,” said one senior administration official, referring to economic adviser Larry Kudlow and national security adviser John Bolton.

Where Priebus and Kelly were more deferential to Cabinet members, Mulvaney has told them they are being judged on how much they can deregulate, with the policy council monitoring them daily. He is pushing for faster rollbacks of rules enacted by former president Barack Obama before Trump’s first term ends, such as restricting what falls under the Clean Water Act and halting implementation of higher fuel-economy standards, according to administration officials.

The president has blessed Mulvaney’s operation, White House aides said, and Trump considers his chief of staff an emissary to movement conservatives who have been vital to his presidency. But some Trump advisers say the president has no idea what Mulvaney and his aides do all day.

Mulvaney and Vought, among others, have sought to convince Trump to care more about cutting spending and the deficit. But Trump has rebuffed many of their proposed cuts as deficits soar.

Trump recently told West Wing aides that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told him no politician had ever lost office for spending more money. Two people with direct knowledge confirmed that McConnell delivered that message in a June phone call about budget sequestration.

Although pleasing to businesses, Mulvaney’s efforts are also heartening to social conservatives, who say they are finding a more open reception than before. 

For instance, a new rule released in May gives health-care providers, insurers and employers greater latitude to refuse coverage for medical services they say violate their religious or moral beliefs. That policy is facing legal challenges. The same month, the White House proposed a rollback of Obama-era rules that banned discrimination against transgender medical patients. Another rule, also being challenged in the courts, bans taxpayer-funded clinics from making abortion referrals.

“We’re just taking the president’s challenge seriously to look everywhere and come up with options for deregulation that spurs economic growth,” Vought said in an interview. “You have an administration that’s in sync and everyone is talking to each other.”

Mulvaney — who has acknowledged to other advisers he knows little about foreign policy — has installed a deputy for national security, Rob Blair, who regularly battles with Bolton and his allies. Mulvaney and Bolton are barely on speaking terms, and Blair has regularly challenged Bolton’s subordinates, according to people familiar with the relationship.

Mulvaney has also been a key backer internally of Halil Suleyman Ozerden, whom Trump nominated for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last month despite misgivings from conservatives, according to people familiar with the matter. Ozerden and Mulvaney have known each other for years and Mulvaney was a groomsman in Ozerden’s wedding. Mulvaney vouched for him in a private conversation with Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who chairs the committee that will take up Ozerden’s nomination.

The former House Freedom Caucus member’s sway in Congress is clearly limited, however. GOP aides routinely trash Mulvaney in private and say he has done little to improve his image from his House days, when he was a leading antagonist in forcing government shutdowns and other hardball tactics. McConnell has told others on Capitol Hill that he would prefer to deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. 

In a recent interview, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) paused for 10 seconds when asked whether Mulvaney was a productive force, particularly during a meeting with key principals in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in June. 

Shelby finally responded that Mulvaney was “engaged” before pointing out that Mnuchin was the lead negotiator on behalf of the administration in the fiscal talks. 

The bad blood between Mulvaney and Democrats is even more obvious.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) recalled being pleasantly surprised when the White House reached out to a half-dozen deal-minded Democratic senators in April, wanting to discuss the influx of migrant children at the border. 

But he said there was no follow-up from the White House. Later, Tester saw Mulvaney on television complaining that the administration had met with Democrats on the border problems but that they weren’t working to address them.

“I think it was about Mulvaney being able to get on national TV and say, ‘We met with the Democrats,’ ” Tester said. “It was apparent to me that that was the political agenda behind it. It wasn’t about getting anything done. It was about laying blame.”

Mulvaney appears fully aware of his shortcomings with lawmakers, joking to others in the White House about his unpopularity on Capitol Hill. “I know they’d rather deal with Mnuchin,” Mulvaney has said, according to two White House officials. 

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who served in the House with Mulvaney, praised his performance but noted that senators are also able to talk to the president directly about any concerns.

“He’s not there to be a clerk. He’s there to lead,” Cramer said. “But I think it’s also clear that when the president says this is the position, that Mick’s more than capable of carrying out the president’s position. And I suspect in some cases they’re far apart — but in most cases, they’re pretty well in line.” 

Mulvaney’s relationship with Trump has had its rocky moments. During a recent ABC News interview, the president berated Mulvaney on camera for coughing.

But the two men are unlikely to part ways, advisers say, partially because Mulvaney knows when to leave Trump alone — and is a good golfer.

“He takes the phrase chief of staff in the literal way. He’s the chief of the staff. He’s not chief of the president,” said Jonathan Slemrod, who led congressional outreach for Mulvaney at OMB until November. “He thinks Trump is a political genius and doesn’t second-guess a lot of his decisions.” 

For his part, Mulvaney has joked about being an acting chief of staff, arguing there is no practical difference.

“You could make me the permanent chief of staff tomorrow, and he could fire me on Thursday,” Mulvaney said of Trump at a June 11 fiscal summit sponsored by the Peterson Foundation. “Or you could leave me as the acting chief of staff, and I could stay to the second term. It doesn’t make any difference.”

He added, “I’ll stay as long as I feel like he values my opinion and I like working for him, and both those things are happening right now.”

I don't know how we will be able to recover from this crap.

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17 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

I don't know how we will be able to recover from this crap.

I hope we can.  I hope we still have a democracy when all this said and done.  One former reality star brings down a democracy.

Edited by WiseGirl
added text
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18 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

I don't know how we will be able to recover from this crap.

Elsewhere, I noted that retired General Michael Hayden tweeted a few days ago that he does not believe democracy will survive if Trump is re-elected. 

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3 hours ago, WiseGirl said:

I hope we can.  I hope we still have a democracy when all this said and done.  One former reality star brings down a democracy.

One former reality star, aided and abetted by the most insidiously corrupt party that ever existed in American politics, bought and paid for by foreign and domestic entities.

Trump would not be in the White House if not for them.

Trump is a symptom, not the cause.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

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Trump and his enablers have two characteristics that they consistently use to brutal effect.  The first is to stay on message and the second is to spin.  Then they laser focus on spinning the message, completely dominating the news cycle for several years now.  Mulvaney's comments above perfectly demonstrate this. 

Democrats have not been able to effectively parry this technique. 

Edited by Howl
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9 minutes ago, Howl said:

Democrats have not been able to effectively parry this technique. 

I couldn't agree more. I think it's because most Dems haven't sold their souls.

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Advice for Rod Rosenstein: STFU and stand down.  Way back when, I gave Rod a pass, as being a decent man caught in a bad bind, but that's been out the window for awhile now.  And Mick Mulvaney, you're evil and a sorry excuse for a human being. 

Trump's rhetoric incites these vile actions and telegraphs to white nationalists that it's time to act and kill their perceived enemies.  They aren't mentally ill. They are evil. 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Dear Rufus, I've been a pretty good GreyhoundFan this year, it would be a terrific early holiday gift for Mulvaney to be tossed out and under the tangerine bus: "Mick Mulvaney, there may soon be a spot for you under the bus"

Spoiler

Shakespeare long ago wrote that “truth will out,” meaning that what’s true — by virtue of its basis in fact and logic — eventually will conquer the lie.

Sometimes, truth is so eager to be heard that it slips past the speaker’s tongue without his conscious cooperation.

Enter acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. On Thursday, Mulvaney’s cat escaped the bag he had been carrying for President Trump during his 10-month-long “acting” tenure.

Yes, yes, yes, we withheld funds to Ukraine in order to obtain help investigating the 2016 hacking of a Democratic National Committee server! You could almost hear the relief of having gotten it out — the truth, that is — so that he could get some REM sleep for a change.

Keeping the lie that there was no quid pro quo, as the official White House narrative went on and on, would have been a burden to the good, which Mulvaney is. If he were otherwise, surely he’d be the non-acting chief of staff by now. It’s the liars and the not-so-good who seem to survive in the Trump administration.

Mulvaney’s days, on the other hand, are likely numbered. Truth may be the heart’s best friend, but it is not helpful in the sort of presidential politics being played out on Pennsylvania Avenue. This may explain Mulvaney’s near-immediate walk-back of his comments to the media. He issued a statement asserting “there was absolutely no quid pro quo” (because Ukraine didn’t produce anything?) and that the pause on funding was related only to “corruption” in Ukraine and had nothing to do with the fantastical server heist.

Remember that the Mueller report concluded that Russian operatives did, in fact, hack a DNC server to gain information that might be helpful to Trump’s election. Trump is still so undone by this now-obvious truth that he seems determined to disprove it and has become obsessed with the conspiracy that the server somehow ended up in Ukraine and contains evidence that there was no hacking by the Russians. Even though the special counsel also concluded that there was no coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, the president seemingly has a desperate need to prove that he won by his own genius.

“I want to see the server,” he told reporters in the White House last Wednesday. “I think it’s very important for this country to see the server.” Really? I have bad news for the president: The idea even that a single server exists — and can be hidden somewhere — is ludicrous. Nowadays, a “server” is actually dozens of different interconnected systems.

In other words, Trump has risked everything, inviting impeachment, to prove that he won fair and square. His Ukraine parry was a matter not of national security but of ego. His need for reassurance and public validation is so consuming that he’s apparently blind to consequences, never more obvious than his recent dealings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which led to Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria. In that case, however, people — not reputations — died. What part Trump’s ego played in that transaction hasn’t been discovered yet, but Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) theory that Erdogan issued an ultimatum and Trump caved may be getting warm.

Before we leave the subject of the 2016 election, let’s be very clear: Trump didn’t win so much as the Democrats lost. And, if they’re not very careful starting immediately — that is, if they don’t stop sounding like aliens whose implanted data receivers haven’t yet mastered the code for “Mainstream America” — they could lose again.

Mulvaney’s stab at survival, meanwhile, may have been a smart move. A wise friend once told me: “Always tell the truth as soon as possible.” You may not win friends; you may sacrifice something wanted. But over time, lies will consume the liar, make you crazy, and paranoia usually follows. Mulvaney may lose his job over the truth; the bus under which so many have been cast sits idling outside the West Wing, and it calls for thee.

Granted, he might have skipped his other lines about “Get over it” and “We do that all the time,” but he must feel that a weight has been lifted. Mulvaney, at least, will enjoy an afterlife beyond the White House. As for Trump, his paranoia expands with his prevarications. According to The Post’s Fact Checker, as of Oct. 9, the president had made 13,435 false or misleading claims since taking office.

If truth ever does slip off his tongue, Congress will have to declare a national holiday.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lots of speculation on Mick Mulvaney's remaining half life.

Right now he's in some sort of limbo and there's probably a subtle process of shunning that happens when someone is past their best-by date in TrumpWorld. 

Actually, being out of the loop on the Baghdadi thing IS shunning,  but no qualified person in their right mind would step into that job right now so Mick will probably lurch along, suffering various indignities and insults, rather than just resign and go back to OMB, which he still heads.  Wonder if he double dips on salary. 

 Also, he's safe from testifying if he's actively in the WH. 

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  • 7 months later...

I agree with Mulvaney's statement, but not in the way he meant it: "Former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney: Trump ‘didn’t hire very well’"

Spoiler

Former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney critiqued President Trump’s hiring decisions, saying the president did not choose the right people.

Mulvaney, who served as the top aide to Trump in an acting capacity until March, made that assessment during an interview Friday morning on CNN when asked about the many high-ranking officials who have criticized the president after leaving his administration.

“If there was one criticism I would level against the president, he didn’t hire very well,” Mulvaney said. “He did not have experience at running government, and didn’t know how to put together a team that could work well with him.”

The conversation came amid this week’s buzz over Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton’s tell-all book about his time in the White House, in which he describes a morally corrupt president fixated on his own political success.

The list of Trump administration officials turned critics is long and includes former defense secretary Jim Mattis, former Navy secretary Richard V. Spencer and former secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

Mulvaney said most of the people now chiding the president are from the military and said, “that’s not the personality that works well with Donald Trump, who is a small-business man who did extremely well.”

Trump famously said during the 2016 presidential election that if he becomes president he would “surround myself only with the best and most serious people. We want top of the line professionals.”

But in the past three and a half years, there’s been high turnover in the White House, and Trump has attacked many of the people he once hired, such as former attorney general Jeff Sessions, whom he now despises.

At an event Thursday at the White House, as reporters were escorted out of the room, one correspondent yelled to the president: “Why do you keep hiring people that you believe are wackos and liars?” — the names he’s called Bolton.

Trump sat stone faced and ignored the question.

 

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