Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney went on Fox News Sunday in part to clean up a press conference Thursday in which he described President Trump's actions with Ukraine as a quid pro quo, trading military aid for an investigation of Democrats. Instead, Mulvaney created a new mess while trying to defend Trump's since-reversed decision to host next year's G7 summit at his own for-profit golf resort.
"At the end of the day, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business," Mulvaney said of Trump, prompting Fox News anchor Chris Wallace to remind him: "He's the president of the United States."
"The bookended performances over the span of a few days were panned by the president's allies and cast doubt on Mulvaney's job security at the White House," The Associated Press reports. "Mulvaney's interview did not play well among Trump allies and advisers, with one calling it a 'self-immolation,'" Politico adds. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to defend Mulvaney's Ukraine comments on Sunday, telling ABC News This Week, "I will leave to the chief of staff to explain what it is he said and what he intended."
On Fox News, Mulvaney said there is "absolutely, positively not" any consideration of his resignation, and a person close to Mulvaney told AP that Trump has expressed support for his acting chief of staff and Mulvaney is not aware of any effort to replace him. He may be right.
"Several White House aides and Trump allies presume Mulvaney's job is safe during the impeachment proceedings," partly because "no one else would want the chief of staff job right now and partly because Mulvaney is too much at the center of the Ukraine scandal for Trump to unceremoniously dump him," Politico reports. Mulvaney "was on thin ice, with diminished status in the White House," even before the Ukraine scandal hit, AP reports, citing nine staffers and outside advisers. And Mulvaney's job security isn't unique to him, AP adds. "The shortage of viable replacements has kept other officials in their posts months after [Trump] soured on them." Peter Weber