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 TrumpTwitter CEO: 'Not true' that removing Trump campaign video was illegal, as president has claimed Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination Barr says he didn't give 'tactical' command to clear Lafayette protesters MORE over the last week: the U.S. pullout from northern Syria, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump names new acting director of legislative affairs 12 things to know today about coronavirus Mulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus 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) WallaceChris Wallace: Jobs numbers show 'the political resilience of Donald Trump' Sessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Cornel West: 'We're witnessing the collapse of the legitimacy of leadership' MORE that he had never used the phrase “quid pro quo.”

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“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 PompeoMurkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump Pepper spray fired during Tiananmen Square memorial in Hong Kong The Hill's 12:30 Report: NYT publishes controversial Tom Cotton op-ed MORE, meanwhile, also defended Mulvaney’s apparent quid pro quo admission on ABC’s “This Week,” telling host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosPelosi: Presidents should not 'fuel the flame' National security adviser defends Trump tweets: The president 'wants to de-escalate violence' Sanders pushes back on doubts supporters will back Biden 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) MenendezGovernment watchdog: 'No evidence' Pompeo violated Hatch Act with Kansas trips No time to be selling arms to the Philippines Senate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation 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.”