Trump names Mick Mulvaney as interim Chief of Staff
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. Trump tweeted yesterday that Mulvaney "has done an outstanding job" while in 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. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2018
Kelly leaves the White House this month end. Trump's announcement comes amid reports that several of the potential candidates for this powerful White House position had turned down the offer. White House, however, 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2018
Trump said he looks "forward to working with" Mulvaney, a hard-line conservative and former congressman from South Carolina with a deep understanding of how Congress works. About Mulvaney's predecessor, Kelly, Trump said he wants to personally thank him for his service.
....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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2018
Meanwhile, the White House said Mulvaney will not resign as the Director of Office of Management of Budget (OMB). "Mick Mulvaney will not resign 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 said that Mulvaney being named as 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," 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, adding Mulvaney is "fiscally responsible," and that Kelly, "the current chief," was pleased with his successor. Russ Vought will be Mulvaney's replacement as OMB director. 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, the official said.
"Mick was over here today (WH) working on budget stuff. They met face-to-face this afternoon," the official said. When questioned about why Mulvaney was named the acting chief of staff rather than simply chief of staff, the official said, "Because that's what the president wants."
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 six months amid WH chaos.