Mulvaney Hopes Legacy Will Be Proving Supply-Side Economics Works
Mulvaney, who ran the Office of Management and Budget before taking the acting chief of staff role, said he found the deficit, which was about $1 trillion in 2019, “extraordinarily disturbing” but that neither party, nor voters, cared much about it. Republicans, he said, were “evolving” since Trump became president.
Mulvaney’s spoke for about an hour at the Oxford Union during a visit to Britain and Ireland to talk about Brexit and other issues. He was pressed hard on climate change, trade policy and other topics by the student organized and run private club. The audience was packed, according to an attendee.
He criticized John F. Kelly, the previous chief of staff, and railed against the “deep state,” giving the audience examples of those working against the Trump administration. Audience members battled with him repeatedly over the role the government. He said it is “real” and the administration is seeking to change it. He said it was frustrating that the administration could not fire more people who work at agencies who do not implement the president’s orders.
Bureaucrats who want to make policy instead of implement it, he said, “should put their name on the effing ballot and run” for office, he said.
Mulvaney, a former congressman from South Carolina, said climate change was a contentious political issue in the US. “Less so, as to whether or not it’s happening, more so, as to its causes,” he said. “We take the position in my party that asking people to change their lifestyle dramatically, including by paying more taxes, is simply not something we are interested in doing,” Mulvaney said in answer to a question about why the government was not spending and doing more to fight climate change. The audience laughed at his answer.
There are often loud, gladiator-like fights in the Oval Office, Mulvaney said, and the president doesn’t mind. But he said that aides leave their personal views at the door after the president makes a decision, citing Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic policy adviser, who “made his reputation” as a free trader, Mulvaney said, but now advocates for the president’s tariffs.
Mulvaney said he hoped the legacy of the administration would be that supply-side economics works and that it will be the “greatest interest on a non-scandalous basis” for historians.
He said he was not concerned about his “acting” title 14 months into the job and noted he got the offer the first time he ever met the president.
“It’d be a $20,000 pay cut to take the job,” he said, adding he was able to keep his old salary instead of taking a lower one that other chiefs of staff took.
“A life expectancy of a chief of staff is roughly 18 months,” he said. “Generally speaking, this job does not last that long. . . . Who knows how much longer I’m going to last?”