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Mick Mulvaney ‘never heard of’ Brett McGurk before resignation

December 23, 2018

Neither President Trump nor his incoming chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, knew who Brett McGurk was until Mr. McGurk abruptly quit over the weekend.

Mr. McGurk is the Trump administration’s special envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition and the point man for the military effort to defeat the terrorist group in Syria.

“I have no idea who that person is,” Mr. Mulvaney told ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday. “Never heard of him until yesterday.”

Mr. McGurk resigned Saturday over the president’s stunning decision to pull all 2,000 U.S. forces out of Syria a move he made after declaring that American had defeated the Islamic State.

Mr. Trump announced the withdrawal over the advice of many members of his national security team, Defense Secretary James Mattis, national security adviser John Bolton, Mr. McGurk, and the vast majority of lawmakers of both parties.

Mr. Mattis resigned in protest last Thursday. Mc. McGurk was already expected to leave his role in February but sped up his exit after the Syria news.

Just this month, Mr. McGurk said it would be foolish to defeat the Islamic State’s “physical space” and then leave, suggesting the U.S. would have a long-term military presence in Syria.

Mr. Trump also said over the weekend he does not know Mr. McGurk.

“Brett McGurk, who I do not know, was appointed by President Obama in 2015,” he tweeted late Saturday evening. “Was supposed to leave in February but he just resigned prior to leaving. Grandstander? The Fake News is making such a big deal about this nothing event!”

Pressed on how it is that the president would not know his own special envoy in the fight against the Islamic State, Mr. Mulvaney said not everyone gets into the White House to meet the president.

“Despite what people think, the White House is not Grand Central Station,” Mr. Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday.”

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