Mick Mulvaney: Trump fires acting chief of staff and appoints Mark Meadows to role

Republican congressman gets the nod

Jon Sharman
Saturday 07 March 2020 02:16 GMT
Mick Mulvaney speaks at the 47th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, 28 February
Mick Mulvaney speaks at the 47th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, 28 February (EPA)

Donald Trump has ousted Mick Mulvaney as his acting chief of staff, installing a Republican congressman as his permanent replacement.

Mr Mulvaney had filled in following the departure of John Kelly, the former military officer, and he will now become the US special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mr Trump announced on Twitter.

“I am pleased to announce that Congressman Mark Meadows will become White House Chief of Staff. I have long known and worked with Mark, and the relationship is a very good one,” the president tweeted.

“I want to thank Acting Chief Mick Mulvaney for having served the Administration so well. He will become the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Thank you!”

Mr Mulvaney was also director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before being seconded to the Oval Office – but the White House cabinet listing shows Russell Vought, the acting OMB director, in that post.

The ousted chief of staff, who in 2016 called Mr Trump “a terrible human being”, was thrust into the spotlight during the Ukraine scandal when he admitted in a press conference that Mr Trump had withheld military aid to Kiev in part to pressure president Volodymyr Zelensky for a political favour.

The ouster comes as the Trump administration faces criticism for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Mr Mulvaney had led the interagency response to the virus until Mike Pence was appointed to front the whole-of-government effort more than a week ago.

Mr Mulvaney has been sidelined inside the White House for months, taking on an ever-narrower role. And Mr Trump has been eyeing the change for months, but wanted to wait until after impeachment, according to a person familiar with his thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss it publicly.

Nonetheless, Mr Mulvaney’s allies had tried to brush off rumblings of his imminent departure and had said as recently as last month that he planned to stay at least until November’s presidential election had concluded.

Additional reporting by AP

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