Trump names Mark Meadows as new chief of staff
President Trump on Friday announced that Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) would replace Mick Mulvaney as his chief of staff, becoming the fourth person to hold the position during Trump’s tenure.
The president announced the news in a tweet, saying he would appoint Mulvaney as U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland.
“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,” Trump tweeted Friday night while in Palm Beach, Fla., for fundraising events after a day of official travel.
“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!” Trump wrote.
Mulvaney was informed of the change earlier Friday, an administration official told The Hill.
The aide spent just over one year on the job, though he never shook the “acting” tag from his title.
His resignation caps months of steadily declining influence in the West Wing and comes at a precarious time as the administration scrambles to battle the spreading coronavirus.
The government is seeking to project coordination and competence in its handling of the outbreak, and a major staff shakeup may only raise questions about its organization in the face of a major crisis.
Mulvaney since his appointment has been among a cohort of Trump’s closest aides in the White House, serving as a reliable defender of the administration’s agenda. But his role was diminished in recent months and his departure was seen as inevitable by some close to the president.
The top aide was said to have been on shaky ground in October after a press conference during which he indicated that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in part because the president wanted an investigation into a debunked theory about Kyiv’s involvement in the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee. Mulvaney later walked the remark back, but it undermined a key message of the White House as it battled House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
By tapping Meadows, Trump is adding to his administration one of his closest allies in the House, who was a prominent defender of Trump during his impeachment and is often spotted at events on the White House and has traveled on Air Force One with the president.
Meadows, who previously turned the job down in December 2018, was someone who has been rumored as a possible replacement for Mulvaney. The North Carolina Republican and former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus assumed the post of ranking member on the House Oversight and Reform Committee last month. He is due to retire from Congress at the end of the year.
Mulvaney has been serving as Trump’s chief of staff in an acting capacity since late 2018, when he was tapped to replace John Kelly.
While Kelly’s tenure was marked by the implementation of rigid rules meant to curb leaks and instill order, Mulvaney did not impose many restraints on Trump.
The former South Carolina congressman had still retained his position as the full-time director of the Office of Management and Budget throughout his time as chief of staff.
Mulvaney and Kelly were preceded by Reince Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman who assumed the role at the start of the Trump administration. The personnel change comes just eight months before the 2020 presidential election.
Updated: 9 p.m.; 10 p.m.