Mulvaney: Trump regularly asks why Roy Moore lost

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Ayers decision casts harsh light on Trump NASA offers to show Stephen Curry evidence from moon landings Freedom Caucus calls on leadership to include wall funding, end to 'catch and release' in funding bill MORE remains dissatisfied with the performance of Alabama Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreDems face tough road ahead in Deep South Republicans should give middle class another 10 percent tax cut Hyde-Smith prevails in Mississippi runoff after 'public hanging' stumble MORE (R) in the state's special election last year and regularly questions why Moore lost, according to a top aide.

White House budget director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Memo: Ayers decision casts harsh light on Trump Meadows looks to make his move Yankees president downplays interest in White House chief of staff job MORE said Saturday during a closed-door meeting with Republicans that the president asks him "all the time" why Moore was unable to defeat now-Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), according to The New York Times.

“The president asks me all the time, ‘Why did Roy Moore lose?’ ” Mulvaney said, according to audio obtained by the Times. “That’s easy. He was a terrible candidate,” he continued. Jones beat Moore by 1.5 percentage points in December.

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The reported questioning of Moore's loss contrasts with Trump's public statements. In December, Trump wrote that he favored Moore's primary challenger, former Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeFive things to watch in Mississippi Senate race Schumer walking tightrope with committee assignments How the right can prepare for 2020 MORE (R), for the reason that he did not believe Moore could win.

“The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election,” the president said shortly after Moore's defeat.

“I was right!” he added. “Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!”

Trump has sought to downplay the defeats of candidates whom he has endorsed, often pointing to his largely positive record of victories for GOP candidates who have secured his endorsement.

Earlier this week, Trump downplayed his unsuccessful endorsement of Wyoming gubernatorial candidate Foster Friess, who lost his Republican primary after securing Trump's endorsement.

"I was asked to do that, by my son Don, and I did it, but I did it — I was asked the morning of — and by the time I did it I guess 70 percent, almost 70 percent of the vote was already cast," Trump said in an interview with The Daily Caller published Wednesday.

The president has seen a number of successes, particularly in GOP primaries, among candidates who have received his endorsement. Earlier this year, South Carolina state Rep. Katie Arrington (R) won her primary against Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Bush memorial service in Houston | House passes two-week spending measure | Markets drop after Chinese executive's arrest Incoming Dem lawmaker mocks Trump for referring to himself as 'President T' South Carolina New Members 2019 MORE (R-S.C.) after winning Trump's endorsement, as did Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisGillum reached out to O’Rourke amid 2020 speculation: report Lewandowski, Florida state senators tussle over Trump's influence on midterms: report Can the climate movement survive populism? Lessons from 'yellow vest' protests MORE (R) in Florida's gubernatorial primary.