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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

US President Donald Trump says new chief of staff Mick Mulvaney will do a great job

Trump did not explain his decision and continued to claim there were a lot of very strong contenders he could choose from.

world Updated: Dec 15, 2018 11:09 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney gestures as he holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney gestures as he holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington. (REUTERS)
         

President Donald Trump named his budget director Mick Mulvaney as acting chief of staff after denying the same arrangement to a one-time favorite for the job, Nick Ayers.

Trump did not explain his decision and continued to claim there were a lot of very strong contenders he could choose from, whose numbers, he omitted to say, kept shrinking every day — the latest to opt out being Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, on personal reasons.

Just hours later, President Trump announced his temporary pick, Mulvaney, on Twitter, who he said will replace John Kelly, the current chief of staff who is scheduled to leave at the end of the year.

“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 wrote in another post.

A senior official told reporters later there is “no time limit” to Mulvaney’s appointment. “He’s the acting chief of staff, which means he’s the chief of staff. He got picked because the president liked him and they get along,” the official added.

Mulvaney, a former Congressman from South Carolina, was interested in the job some time ago, but not this time. He would have preferred a move to the treasury as secretary though, to replace Steven Mnuchin, who was among those also considered by Trump for the position.

He will be Trump’s third chief of staff, a position that experts have described as the gateway to the president and his (all US presidents have been men so far) presidency. The first, Reince Priebus lasted just a few months. Kelly, the incumbent, fared better but only by a few months.

A high-pressure job by definition, the position of White House chief of staff has become even more challenging under President Trump. Priebus tried to go with and replicate what he thought was president’s freewheeling working style but was accused of running a chaotic White House. And was fired.

His successor Kelly, a former Marine general, was hailed for bringing military-style order and discipline to the president’s office. But he made enemies in the process.

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who had enjoyed anytime-walk-in resented being shut out by Kelly who insisted on treating them as any other White House official.

First Published: Dec 15, 2018 11:03 IST