Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney may be stepping down from that role in the near future, perhaps as soon as the expected impeachment trial has concluded in the Senate, according to Politico.
Whether he leaves President Donald Trump’s administration entirely or merely returns to his prior Cabinet-level position as director of the Office of Management and Budget — which he technically still holds — remains to be seen.
Mulvaney could be out after impeachment is over
According to several unnamed “aides and confidants” close to President Trump interviewed by Politico, Mulvaney has been increasingly sidelined by the president, and some of Trump’s allies and friends have been urging him to drop Mulvaney and appoint a new chief of staff.
The report suggested that Mulvaney doesn’t have much control over the White House staff and has increasingly been left “out of the loop” on major personnel and policy decisions, including strategizing for the ongoing impeachment saga.
“He is there. I’ll leave it at that,” one anonymous Republican said to be close to the White House told Politico about Mulvaney. “He’s like a kid. His role at the dinner table is to be seen and not heard.”
Similarly, Vanity Fair reported that an unnamed former White House official said, “Mick has decided not to be in control.” Another unnamed “prominent” Republican said, “Jared [Kushner] treats Mick like the help. There’s no pushback.”
Ups and downs of Mulvaney’s tenure
Things may not be as bad as reported, however, as Mulvaney’s sort of hands-off, “let Trump be Trump” approach was more fitting to the president’s style than that of his predecessors, Reince Priebus and John Kelly. Mulvaney drew praise from White House insiders for boosting staff morale, building a better relationship between staff and Trump’s family — particularly son-in-law Kushner, who is kind of an unofficial chief of staff, and daughter Ivanka Trump — and for coordinating with House Republicans.
He also earned praise for some of his successful policy work, such as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and a deal with China to avoid increased tariffs, not to mention having a generally good working relationship with the president, as he isn’t one to get in his face and instead “picks his battles.”
However, Politico noted that Mulvaney suffered significant criticism following a news conference in October when he appeared to admit to a “quid pro quo” involving Ukraine, and the jury is still out on how much blame he has shouldered for his role in encouraging Trump to hold out during the extended government shutdown that marked the start of the year.
Still, Mulvaney is reportedly still involved in policy-making and spending bill plans, and still has the ear of the president on certain matters.
No room for “traditional” chief of staff
Politico suggested that one top potential replacement could be Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who announced on Thursday he is not running for re-election and has strongly hinted at joining Trump’s administration or campaign in the near future.
However, as one anonymous Trump “ally” told the outlet, perhaps of both Mulvaney and Meadows: “The president does not want a traditional chief of staff, plus there is Jared. There are already two chiefs: the president and his son-in-law. There is no room for a third.”