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Mick Mulvaney tapped as Trump’s acting chief of staff

December 14, 2018

President Trump said Friday that he’s tapped Mick Mulvaney to be acting chief of staff at the White House, adding yet another role to the man who’s already his budget director.

Mr. Mulvaney will take over for current Chief of Staff John Kelly, who is leaving at the end of the year. The White House said there is no time limit on the role.

“He’s the acting chief of staff, which means he’s the chief of staff. He got picked because the president liked him they get along,” an official told reporters.

Mr. Mulvaney, a former Republican congressman, had been doing double-duty for the last year as both chief of the Office of Management and Budget, which is the nerve center of the administration, and as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFBP got a new permanent director last week, so Mr. Mulvaney is free of those duties.

And the White House said one of Mr. Mulvaney’s deputies at the budget office will take over his duties there, allowing him to fulfill the chief of staff’s role.

Given that the chief of staff is purely a presidential pick, it’s not clear why Mr. Trump slapped the “acting” tag on Mr. Mulvaney.

“That’s what the president wants,” the White House official said.

As OMB director Mr. Mulvaney was a mostly behind-the-scenes advocate for the president’s policies, overseeing the push to limit government regulations and advancing Mr. Trump’s spending priorities.

He has been the president’s utility player, rumored to be in line for a number of high-level administration jobs.

His experience on Capitol Hill as a congressman could prove valuable next year as Democrats take control of the House, creating split government.

Mr. Trump made the announcement via Twitter. The move gives him some breathing space to search for a permanent chief of staff after a number of high-profile candidates took themselves out of the running for the job.

“Mick has done an outstanding job while in the administration,” Mr. Trump said. “I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to make America great again!”

He also called Mr. Kelly “a great patriot.”

Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, which battled Mr. Mulvaney’s decisions at the CFPB, said Mr. Trump was inviting trouble.

If Trump was looking to bring more scandal into the White House, this last minute, sixth string pick was the right choice,” he said.

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