Mick Mulvaney, it seems, was the last man standing.
President Donald Trump announced Friday evening that he#8217s picking Mulvaney to serve as his acting Chief of Staff. The announcement capped off a week of speculation and rumors about who would replace Gen. John Kelly for the position. Generally, the post is viewed as one of the most powerful and prestigious in the nation#8217s Capitol. Under President Trump, however, it has appeared to be just the opposite.
Currently, Mulvaney runs both the Office of Management and Budget and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The White House initially said he will be replaced at OMB by Russell Vought, who is currently his deputy, but later clarified in a statement that he will not be leaving OMB permanently but Vought will run the daily operations while he serves as Chief of Staff. His replacement at the CFPB, Kathy Krainiger, has already been sworn in.
Mulvaney, when he assumes the post after Kelly leaves at the end of the year, will be Trump#8217s third Chief of Staff in two years. (Reince Priebus was the first, from January to July of 2017). President George W. Bush, by comparison, had two chiefs of staff throughout his entire eight years as President; Bill Clinton had four, and Obama had five. And while a senior official told reporters there was no time limit to Mulvaney#8217s tenure in the post and that he was only given the #8220acting#8221 title because #8220the President wanted it that way,#8221 the use of that word implies there will be a successor.The Brief Newsletter Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. View Sample Sign Up Now
But moreover, the entire process on display over the past week gave the public a front-row seat to the difficulties of being Trump#8217s right-hand associate.
Initially, Trump wanted Vice President Mike Pence#8217s longtime Chief of Staff, Nick Ayers, to succeed Kelly. But that didn#8217t pan out. Ayers announced Dec. 9 mdash the day after Trump said Kelly was leaving mdash that he would not take the job, instead choosing to return with his family to Georgia. Ayers#8217 decision left the administration scrambling. A handful of people, including Rep. Mark Meadows, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and even the President#8217s son-in law Jared Kushner, were reportedly in the running, but either never received offers or didn#8217t want the position.
#8220I#8217ve told the President now is not the right time for me and my family,#8221 Christie said in a statement Friday a few hours before the Mulvaney announcement. #8220As a result I have asked him to no longer keep me in any considerations for this post.#8221