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Budget director Mick Mulvaney says Trump's Puerto Rico tweets are just about managing expectations

Mick Mulvaney on CNN

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney talked taxes and President Trump's tweets about Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts in an interview Sunday with CNN's Jake Tapper on State of the Union.

Tapper began the conversation by asking Mulvaney to explain Trump's Saturday Twitter declaration that San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz "and others in Puerto Rico" want "everything to be done for them." "Who is 'they,' and what is the 'everything' they want done for them?" Tapper questioned.

"I think what the president's trying to get at is that folks think this is going to be easy," Mulvaney replied, casting Trump's comments as an exercise in managing expectations. "They saw what happened in Texas; they saw what happened in Florida; and they thought, 'Oh, this is easy to do' — and it's not," Mulvaney continued. "This was always going to be harder, we knew that," because Puerto Rico was hit by two successive hurricanes (Irma and Maria) and it is less accessible than continental areas.

Mulvaney also suggested Cruz is not adequately participating in relief efforts herself, and that the media is not fairly depicting federal relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

Turning to the subject of Trump's tax plan, Mulvaney argued that critics have jumped the gun because the bill is not fully written. "I've seen the criticisms," he said. "All I can tell you is that no one can make real, detailed analysis of the plan yet because it's not finished." Some details of the plan central to calculating its impact are not available, Mulvaney said, because they do not exist. For Trump, he added, lowering middle-class and corporate tax rates are the two big priorities.

Watch the full interview below. Bonnie Kristian