Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Mick Mulvaney

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney holds a news conference to discuss the Trump administration's proposed FY2017 federal budget in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House May 23, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As Trump Sows Discord, Chief of Staff Mulvaney Reportedly Focused on 'Building Empire for the Right Wing'

"Cabinet members are pressed weekly on what regulations they can strip from the books and have been told their performance will be judged on how many they remove."

Jessica Corbett

While President Donald Trump dominates national media with racist tweets and lies, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is quietly "building an empire for the right wing" and pushing Cabinet members to impose a radical and rapid deregulation agenda across the federal government, according to a new Washington Post report.

A former Republican congressman who co-founded the Freedom Caucus in 2015, Mulvaney has worn many hats in Trump's administration. He served as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for more than a year and is currently on leave as director of the Office of Management and Budget for the chief of staff role, a supposedly temporary appointment that Trump announced in December.

Citing interviews with dozens of sources within the White House and on Capitol Hill, the Post detailed "the growing influence wielded by Mulvaney, a former tea party lawmaker who has built what one senior administration official called 'his own fiefdom' centered on pushing conservative policies—while mostly steering clear of the Trump-related pitfalls that tripped up his predecessors by employing a 'Let Trump be Trump' ethos." Mulvaney and the White House declined to participate in the piece.

Mulvaney spends less time with Trump than his predecessors—Reince Priebus and John F. Kelly—did, and doesn't always know what's going on with Trump's foreign policy, advisers told the newspaper. "Instead, Mulvaney has focused much of his energy on creating a new White House power center revolving around the long-dormant Domestic Policy Council and encompassing broad swaths of the administration."

Reportedly pushing Cabinet members and agencies to act quickly on deregulation—in case the Democrats take control of the White House and Senate in 2020—Mulvaney appears to care "about the domestic agencies much more than the prior chiefs of staff did," one source said.

As the Post reported late Sunday:

He has helped install more than a dozen ideologically aligned advisers in the West Wing since his December hiring. Cabinet members are pressed weekly on what regulations they can strip from the books and have been told their performance will be judged on how many they remove. Policy and spending decisions are now made by the White House and dictated to Cabinet agencies, instead of vice versa. When Mulvaney cannot be in the Oval Office for a policy meeting, one of his allies is usually there.

[...]

Mulvaney spends more time in his office than his predecessors, feeling no need to sit in on all of Trump's meetings. He regularly huddles with Joe Grogan, a hard-liner who now leads the Domestic Policy Council, and Russell T. Vought, a conservative ally who runs the Office of Management and Budget in Mulvaney's absence.

The newspaper noted that while "Mulvaney's biggest successes so far have come in deregulation efforts," the chief of staff "also faces significant obstacles on Capitol Hill, where he made enemies on both sides of the aisle during his three terms as a bomb-throwing House conservative."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Turn Off the Tap on Plastic,' UN Chief Declares Amid Debate Over New Global Treaty

"Plastics are fossil fuels in another form," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, "and pose a serious threat to human rights, the climate, and biodiversity."

Kenny Stancil ·


EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·


Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·


Betrayal of Railway Workers Ignites Working-Class Fury Toward Biden and Democrats

"Politicians are happy to voice platitudes and heap praise upon us for our heroism throughout the pandemic," said one rail leader. "Yet when the steel hits the rail, they back the powerful and wealthy Class 1 rail carriers every time."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo