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

Former White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE, who resigned as envoy to Northern Ireland over President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement 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) WallaceAnything-but-bipartisan 1/6 commission will seal Pelosi's retirement. Here's why Biden walks fine line with Fox News Aides who clashed with Giuliani intentionally gave him wrong time for Trump debate prep: book 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 BidenThe Supreme Court and blind partisanship ended the illusion of independent agencies Missed debt ceiling deadline kicks off high-stakes fight Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session 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 GiulianiCapitol insurrection hearing exposes Trumpworld delusions DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's riot lawsuit Bob Dole: 'I'm a Trumper' but 'I'm sort of Trumped out' 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.