Why Mulvaney can't save Trump's chaos presidency

President Donald Trump has announced his final choice in the chief of staff sweepstakes: Budget Director Mic...

Posted: Dec 16, 2018 1:18 PM
Updated: Dec 16, 2018 1:18 PM

President Donald Trump has announced his final choice in the chief of staff sweepstakes: Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. The announcement, made predictably via Twitter on Friday, ends more than a week of "Apprentice"-like scrambling to figure out who would replace outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly. Nick Ayers (Vice President Mike Pence's former chief of staff), Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie and David Bossie were all in the mix.

Mulvaney, who will serve as "acting" chief of staff, brings skills to the table that might be helpful in this job under normal circumstances. He was elected as a congressman for the 5th District of South Carolina in 2010 and became part of the Tea Party Revolution on Capitol Hill. Mulvaney has fostered strong relationships with Republicans in Congress (although House Democrats don't like him). He also has experience managing things: He is director of the Office of Management and Budget and recently stepped down as the acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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But skill sets don't matter in what might be the most thankless job in Washington. The Trump White House is in turmoil and under investigation. It is run by a President who refuses to listen to any adviser and eventually turns on almost everyone around him, and is in conversation with a political party desperately trying to figure out why it should stay loyal to its leader.

None of these conditions makes the chief of staff position appealing. Mulvaney, who will be Trump's third chief of staff, is stepping into a political hurricane, not unlike when Al Haig became President Richard Nixon's chief of staff in May 1973.

But while there will be speculation about whether Mulvaney can turn things around, there is no hope. What we see is what we will continue to get. The structural problems facing any chief of staff working for this President are immense and won't go away.

Trump runs a freewheeling administration where he is the one in charge. While it is possible that a skillful COS might bring order to the Oval Office -- as Kelly appeared to do early in his 16-month tenure -- he will always be subservient to a President who sows chaos.

Mulvaney also steps in when this presidency is in a full-blown crisis. The combination of a newly elected House Democratic majority and the rapid intensification of investigations into wrongdoing and corruption means that Mulvaney will spend much of his time trying to keep this ship from sinking -- and himself out of trouble. There will be few opportunities for pushing legislative breakthroughs, and there is always the chance he will get swept up in the inquiry.

The best that Trump's supporters can hope for is that Mulvaney establishes some kind of managerial order and gets in Trump's ear when the President exhibits his worst tendencies. But don't bet on it.

The problem facing Mulvaney is the problem facing anyone in this broken White House. This at-risk President has insulated himself from advice and counsel essential to saving himself.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319115

Reported Deaths: 7353
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22246264
Hinds20612421
Harrison18342316
Rankin13855282
Jackson13666248
Madison10213224
Lee10050176
Jones8452167
Forrest7810153
Lauderdale7253242
Lowndes6488149
Lamar632288
Lafayette6295120
Washington5412136
Bolivar4833133
Panola4659110
Oktibbeha465898
Pearl River4591146
Marshall4571105
Warren4436121
Pontotoc424573
Union415576
Monroe4154135
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock385187
Leflore3514125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn323272
Scott319274
Yazoo313971
Adams304785
Itawamba304777
Copiah299666
Coahoma298283
Simpson297889
Tippah291168
Prentiss283361
Leake271674
Marion271280
Covington266683
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251851
Newton248563
Tishomingo230867
Winston229881
Jasper222048
Attala214973
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187454
Stone187233
Tallahatchie179941
Clarke178980
Calhoun173732
Yalobusha167740
Smith164034
Walthall135147
Greene131633
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite125942
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica107927
Jefferson Davis107633
Claiborne102930
Benton102225
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin84923
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50817
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547323

Reported Deaths: 11266
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson808021563
Mobile41925826
Madison35600522
Tuscaloosa26136458
Shelby25554254
Montgomery25067610
Baldwin21774313
Lee16234175
Calhoun14692325
Morgan14614285
Etowah14132361
Marshall12443230
Houston10748287
Elmore10295212
Limestone10180157
St. Clair10146250
Cullman9921200
Lauderdale9582248
DeKalb8955189
Talladega8441184
Walker7318279
Autauga7215113
Blount6925139
Jackson6900113
Colbert6394139
Coffee5616126
Dale4928114
Russell454441
Chilton4461116
Franklin430683
Covington4263122
Tallapoosa4117154
Escambia400280
Chambers3715123
Dallas3604156
Clarke352861
Marion3231106
Pike313978
Lawrence3121100
Winston283372
Bibb267364
Geneva256981
Marengo250565
Pickens236562
Barbour234559
Hale226578
Butler223371
Fayette217162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph186844
Monroe179141
Washington170339
Macon163051
Clay159559
Crenshaw155057
Cleburne152543
Lamar145837
Lowndes141953
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh112930
Coosa111129
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
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