Donald Trump spent the entire week insisting that people were beating down his door to replace John Kelly as Chief of Staff.
“We have a lot of great people for chief of staff, a lot of people want the job,” the President told reporters on Tuesday, during the same Oval Office meeting that found him proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, why nobody wants the job.
“A lot of people wanted to have it, and a lot of friends of mine want it, a lot of people that Chuck and Nancy know very well want it, I think people you’d like and we have a lot of people who want the job chief of staff, and so we’ll be seeing what happens very soon”, he rambled/elaborated.
In truth, nobody wants to be Trump’s Chief of Staff because, well, because look at what the job entails. Suffice to say if John Kelly, a man who has lost men in combat, lost a son to the Taliban and probably killed more enemy combatants than he can even remember, cannot endure the daily torture that goes along with babysitting Trump, nobody can.
But let’s just assume, for argument’s sake, that somewhere out there is a man stoic enough to take on this Herculean task. That man, whoever he is, is most assuredly not Mick Mulvaney.
But Mick is going to give it a shot and not because he wants to, but rather because Trump, having run completely out of options after Nick Ayers bailed on him last weekend, is effectively compelling his OMB Director to take on the role – on an interim basis, apparently.
“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”, Trump tweeted on Friday evening, adding that “Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration [and] I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Ok, so as regular readers know, virtually everyone despises Mick Mulvaney. If you’re not familiar with Mick, suffice to say he’s not what one might call “popular” in many circles, which is why a lot of folks have enjoyed watching the notorious budget hawk squirm when pressed to explain how it is that a ballooning deficit is consistent with his previous rhetoric on fiscal rectitude. Even funnier was the moment in February when Mick was forced to reconcile spending $30 million on Trump’s now-scrapped military parade with his (Mick’s) infamous 2010 declaration that “we can’t spend money we don’t have.”
Here, for reference, is Mick’s Bloomberg bio:
How’s that worked out? Well, not great (again). In fact, it was just Thursday when the U.S. posted the widest November budget deficit in history. Treasury’s monthly report showed the U.S. running a $205 billion shortfall versus a $139 billion gap last year.
So, no, Mick has not “saved our country from drowning in red ink”. In fact, thanks to inexplicably agreeing to be the OMB Director for the self-proclaimed “King of Debt”, Mick, budget hawk par excellence, is now associated with one of the worst episodes of fiscal largesse in recent memory. And the truly absurd part is that it comes at a time when the unemployment rate is sitting at a 48-year low. This is how anomalous Trump’s fiscal policy looks when you chart it:
It is, frankly, insane and it’s produced all manner of hilarious factoids that make Mick look like a stone, cold moron considering his history of hawkish budget banter. For instance, Steve Mnuchin bested Tim Geithner’s old refunding record this quarter and Donald Trump now holds the all-time record for most interest paid in a year.
So, having thoroughly humiliated Mick the OMB Director, Trump will now proceed to thoroughly humiliate Mick the Acting Chief of Staff, despite the fact that multiple people have made it clear over the past week that Mick doesn’t actually want this job.
This also raises serious questions about the government shutdown(s) that Trump said this week he will be “proud” to own. After all, Mulvaney was one of the people responsible for the 2013 shutdown.
Hilariously, sources say Trump has no plans to continue interviewing people for a permanent chief of staff. That’s because there are no people to interview. Bottom line: Mulvaney is it up to and until someone stupid enough to take this job on a permanent basis comes along.
On the bright side for Mick, it looks like Trump might be going to prison relatively soon, so maybe this new hell won’t last very long.