Mick Mulvaney speaks at the Oxford Union

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Mick Mulvaney, aged 52, was formerly a Republican congressmen and the current acting Chief of Staff to Donald Trump’s White House. Already the third person to hold the position under President Trump, one of the many defining features the current White House has come to be known by are frequent personnel changes that have almost entirely reshaped the President’s initial cabinet (a few times over), and Mr. Mulvaney’s position is no difference. Taking on the job from the rather short-lived Reince Priebus then the stable presence that was offered by John Kelly, Mulvaney boasts a more assertive difference he brings to the role and shares his take on the interactions of different stakeholders with Trump that has come to shape his presidency. Mulvaney gave a talk at the Oxford Union on 19th February and discussed wide ranging issues surrounding the contentious government he works for and answered questions raised by the audience.

The Trump cabinet has always featured a noticeably higher amount of former business leaders, likely due to the president’s background, and supporters of an imperial presidency and conservative social policies. When questioned whether we could understand this as Trump likes to be surrounded by ‘yes man’, Mulvaney, who is also not known to disagree with the president, denied that was the case.

‘I disagree with the President every single day,’ he said ‘You just don’t hear about it because that is not my job.’ He claims the President actually looks for people who disagree with him, and even ‘disagree with each other’. He said the President would ‘sit back and watch as aides go at it’ and then after hearing arguments from both sides reach his own conclusion. Mulvaney invokes a sense of collective cabinet responsibility less prominently featured in American politics, saying that it is their job to agree with the President in public but disagree with him in private in order to facilitate the most effective implementation of his policies.

When asked how he reconciliates his previous position as a fiscal hawk with his government’s spending patterns, Mulvaney quite frankly stated, ‘my party is very interested in deficits when there is a Democrat in the White House. The worst thing in the whole world is deficits when Barack Obama was the president. Then Donald Trump became president, and we’re a lot less interested as a party.’ Mulvaney then took aim at the other side of the aisle over the recently concluded impeachment proceedings. He claimed the Democrats were not interested in hearing from the witnesses but was more looking to make a scene of the whole thing.

Not to be misaligned with the Trump brand, Mulvaney also accused the ‘deep state’ and the media for intentionally going against the government. He claims the civil service actively work against Trump’s agenda and are trying to see him fail. He also recalled instances where the media reported fake information with regards to the President’s golf breaks. The talk drew to an end as Mulvaney revisits some of the Trump presidency’s economic achievements so far despite failing to draw a link between a specific policy and its economic impact, considering most economic policies take time to have effect and are more likely to be the work of the previous administration. He concluded on a more light-hearted note when asked why he was still ‘acting’ Chief of Staff and continuing his role at the Office of Management and Budget instead of properly settling in, ‘because it’s a $20,000 pay cut.’

 

Image credit: Mick Mulvaney, public domain, <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Office_of_the_President_of_the_United_States” class=”extiw” title=”w:Executive Office of the President of the United States”>Executive Office of the President of the United States</a> – <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external free” href=”https://www.whitehouse.gov/people/mick-mulvaney/”>https://www.whitehouse.gov/people/mick-mulvaney/</a>, Public Domain, <a href=”https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64955254″>Link</a>