White House officials work to tamp down controversies after a tumultuous week

White House officials work to tamp down controversies after a tumultuous week
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White House officials took to the Sunday shows to defend a series of controversies that have dogged President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE over the last week: the U.S. pullout from northern Syria, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Tucker Carlson calls out Mick Mulvaney on immigration remarks: 'Dishonest and stupid' Trump furious after officials allowed Americans with coronavirus to fly home with other passengers: report MORE’s apparent admission of a quid pro quo in Ukraine and the since-canceled announcement of one of Trump’s properties as the site for the Group of Seven (G-7) summit.

Mulvaney, who issued a statement Thursday walking back his press conference remarks, continued his efforts on “Fox News Sunday,” telling host Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceFox's Chris Wallace to interview Joe Biden for first time since 2007 Chris Wallace 'horrified' by CNN's Acosta's conduct: 'It's not our job to one-up presidents' President Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks MORE that he had never used the phrase “quid pro quo.”


“Can I see how people took that the wrong way? Absolutely. But I never said there was a quid pro quo because there isn’t,” Mulvaney told Wallace.

Mulvaney also defended the selection of Trump National Doral as the site of the G-7 summit before Trump announced last night that a different location would be named.

"He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback. At the end of the day, you know, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business, and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world and he wanted to put on the absolute best show, best visit that he possibly could, and he was very comfortable doing it at Doral," Mulvaney told Wallace.

"You say he considers himself in the hospitality business," Wallace responded. "He's the president of the United States." 

"But that’s his background," Mulvaney said in response. "I used to be in the real estate business. I don’t know what you used to do before you were in the media."

"He wanted to put on a show," Mulvaney added. "He’s in the hotel business."

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoCheney, House Republicans express 'serious concerns' with US-Taliban deal GOP, Democrats hash out 2020 strategy at dueling retreats Overnight Defense: Lawmakers tear into Pentagon over .8B for border wall | Dems offer bill to reverse Trump on wall funding | Senators urge UN to restore Iran sanctions MORE, meanwhile, also defended Mulvaney’s apparent quid pro quo admission on ABC’s “This Week,” telling host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosTrump says he wants 'no help from any country' in 2020 election Rahm Emanuel: Sanders is 'stoppable' National security adviser: 'I haven't seen any intelligence' that Russia is trying to help Trump MORE, “I never saw that in the decisionmaking process.”

Pompeo also defended the U.S. withdrawal from Syria and the cease-fire he and Vice President Pence brokered with Turkey last week in his “This Week” appearance.

“It was a hard-fought negotiation. It began before the vice president and I even arrived in Ankara. It lasted hours while we were there. We achieved the outcome that President Trump sent us to achieve,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo’s characterization of the situation in Syria was followed by an interview with Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMenendez calls for 'Marie Yovanovitch bill' to protect foreign service employees Senators condemn UN 'blacklisting' of US companies in Israeli settlements Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle MORE (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who said, "I think the secretary lives in a parallel alternate universe."

“What the president did is a betrayal of the Kurds, who fought and died alongside of us in pursuit of ending the threat of ISIS. It's a betrayal of our ally, the state of Israel, where, in fact, Iran now has an easier facility to have its land bridge with sophisticated weapons to try to attack Israel,” Menendez said. “It's a betrayal of our foreign policy to the Russians, who are the big winners of this.”