President TrumpDonald TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event MORE on Friday named budget director Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyJan. 6 committee issues latest round of subpoenas for rally organizers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - To vote or not? Pelosi faces infrastructure decision Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 11, including Pierson, other rally organizers MORE as his acting White House chief of staff, capping off a week of frenzied speculation about who would take over the key West Wing role.
“Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration,” Trump wrote. “I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
The president praised Kelly’s service and called the retired Marine Corps general “a GREAT PATRIOT.”
I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2018
....I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! John will be staying until the end of the year. He is a GREAT PATRIOT and I want to personally thank him for his service!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2018
Mulvaney in a tweet called the appointment a “tremendous honor” and said “it’s going to be a great 2019!”
As his title indicates, Mulvaney, 51, will temporarily serve as chief of staff until Trump can find a permanent replacement. The president did not indicate how long the selection process will take.
“There’s no time limit. 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,” a senior administration official told reporters.
Asked why Mulvaney was named acting chief of staff instead of simply chief of staff, the official responded “because that’s what the president wants.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday night that Mulvaney would keep his title as Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director while also serving as acting chief of staff.
Russell Vought, Mulvaney’s deputy at OMB, will take over for Mulvaney in the budget office while he focuses on his chief of staff responsibilities, Sanders said.
“Mick Mulvaney will not resign from the Office Of Management and Budget, but will spend all of his time devoted to his role as the acting Chief Of Staff for the President. Russ Vought will handle day to day operations and run OMB," Sanders said in a statement.
It is the second time the OMB director has taken on a high-profile administration role in an acting capacity. He had led the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) since November 2017 after its previous director, Obama holdover Richard Cordray, left the post. The new permanent director was sworn in this week.
Trump spent this week scrambling to choose a successor to Kelly after his first choice, Vice President Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers, turned down the job over a disagreement over how long he would serve.
Ayers’s decision came one day after Trump abruptly announced last Saturday that Kelly would be leaving his job after a tumultuous 17-month tenure.
Trump appeared sensitive to rejections from Ayers and other candidates and bristled at the emerging narrative that he was struggling to attract top talent for the job.
“For the record, there were MANY people who wanted to be the White House Chief of Staff. Mick M will do a GREAT job!” he tweeted Friday evening.
Mulvaney’s name surfaced earlier this week as one person who could be considered for the job, but people close to the budget director indicated he was more interested in a Cabinet post.
Trump met with Mulvaney earlier Friday at the White House to discuss the Dec. 21 government funding deadline, according to the official, but emerged with the chief of staff job. Officials cited Mulvaney's experience as a former member of Congress as a key selling point for the president.
“He knows Congress. He knows Capitol Hill,” the official said of Mulvaney, who served three terms in the House as a firebrand Republican from South Carolina.
The official noted that Mulvaney “didn't find out about [the announcement] on Twitter.”
Mulvaney was a key figure in the Tea Party movement when he was elected in 2010 and was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus. He became known as one of the most fiscally conservative members of Trump’s team, drafting budget requests that called for dramatic cuts to federal government.
The new acting chief faces a tall task of steering the White House through a political minefield marked by intensifying federal investigations into Trump’s associates and the 2016 campaign as well as an emboldened Democratic majority in the House.
House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats step up pressure on Biden on student loan forgiveness Climate activists target Manchin Democrats face growing storm over IRS reporting provision MORE’s (D-Calif.) office called Mulvaney’s appointment a sign that Trump is not interested in resolving the government-funding impasse, driven by the president’s demands for border wall funds.
“It sends a clear message that at this critical time the president would choose to elevate the architect of the last Republican government shutdown,” said Pelosi adviser Drew Hammill.
Kelly, and his predecessor Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusWisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Democrats claim vindication, GOP cries witch hunt as McGahn finally testifies MORE, also struggled to manage the president and navigate the warring factions inside the West Wing.
The president’s selection of Mulvaney came after several other candidates, including Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), announced publicly they would not take the job.
Christie said Friday he was not interested after meeting privately with Trump the previous day. The White House said Meadows was out after the two discussed it earlier in the week.
Former Trump campaign aide David Bossie also met with the president on Friday about the job.
Other people said to have been considered by the White House included Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report Menendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS MORE, U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerBob LighthizerBiden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Whiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' MORE, Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryRepublicans are the 21st-century Know-Nothing Party College football move rocks Texas legislature Trump tries to spin failed Texas endorsement: 'This was a win' MORE and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
— Updated 9:18 p.m.