Mulvaney: Earlier Trump controversies were 'policy differences' or 'stylistic,' but 'Wednesday was existential'

Former White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyConsumer bureau director resigns after Biden's inauguration FDA chief says he was 'disgusted' by Capitol riots, considered resigning Biden consumer bureau pick could take over agency on Inauguration Day MORE, who resigned as envoy to Northern Ireland over President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE’s handling of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, on Sunday defended remaining in the administration through earlier controversies.

“I think everybody recognizes that what happened on Wednesday is different,” Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.” Mulvaney said that many of the earlier controversies "were policy differences, many of them were stylistic … Wednesday was existential.”

“I thought it was important for someone who is not establishment, not a never-Trumper to say that was wrong,” Mulvaney added.

Fox’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceChris Wallace: This was best inaugural address I've ever heard Fox News's DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire Arkansas governor: Intelligence on state capitol protests 'not to the level that I'm bringing out the National Guard' MORE went on to ask Mulvaney if he supported mechanisms to remove the president from office in the 10 days before President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE’s inauguration. Mulvaney said that the 25th Amendment, in which a president’s Cabinet votes for removal, “is a very clumsy tool” and “we’ve never used it under these circumstances.”

As for Democrats’ plans to impeach the president for a second time, Mulvaney declined to say whether he would support it if he were still in Congress, adding that he would "take it really seriously.”

“I can assure you there would be members of both parties who would look at it very, very differently than they did last year,” he said.

Mulvaney also acknowledged he had been wrong to predict in a Wall Street Journal op-ed predicting that Trump would accept defeat in the event of an electoral loss. 

“I really did believe that at the time, I’ve seen the president be presidential before and I know he had the ability to do it,” he said.

He went on to blame the influence of advisers like the president’s personal attorney, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiLawyers group calls for Giuliani's suspension from law practice, ethics probe Would Trump have gotten away with a self-pardon? History will never know Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon MORE, and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who he said told the president “what he wanted to hear.”

Wallace also pointed to comments by Mulvaney’s predecessor as chief of staff, John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, who said Trump had long surrounded himself with “bootlickers.”

“It’s not true and I’m sorry to hear John say that,” Mulvaney countered.

Mulvaney also pushed back against Kelly’s comments on NBC's "Meet the Press," saying “I respect John, he's a tremendous American. But he didn't resign when he was the chief of staff of the president.”

--Updated at 10:53 a.m.