President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE on Friday said he has a "very good relationship" with 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 one day after refusing to comment on whether or not he's happy with his acting chief of staff.
"I like Mick Mulvaney. I have a very good relationship with him," Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for a campaign rally in Mississippi.
The comments came in response to a question about his interview with The Washington Examiner in which he did not directly answer a question about whether he's happy with Mulvaney's performance.
“Happy?” Trump replied. “I don’t want to comment on it.”
He later added that he could understand if Republican senators were unhappy with Mulvaney's handling of the White House's impeachment defense thus far.
The president's dismissive comments to the Examiner renewed speculation about Mulvaney's standing in the White House. He is not thought to be imminently on his way out but has come under scrutiny in recent weeks as the impeachment inquiry ramps up.
Mulvaney said at a press briefing last month that the security aid to Ukraine that Trump withheld was dependent partly on the country investigating a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election.
“There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy,” Mulvaney said at the time. “That’s going to happen.”
Democrats seized on the comments, which undercut Trump's insistence that there was no quid pro quo involved in his withholding the aid.
Trump has largely avoided answering questions about Mulvaney’s status within the administration, though he said in the immediate aftermath of the press briefing that he still has confidence in his chief of staff.
Mulvaney took over as acting chief of staff more than 10 months ago. He has not been given the role full-time, and it's unclear who might replace him in the midst of an impeachment inquiry if Trump were to fire him.