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Mick Mulvaney on the Trump White House and Jan. 6 hearings

Mick Mulvaney
Executive Office of the President of the United States
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Mick Mulvaney

Today, we’re talking about national and regional politics. Of course, you can’t have that conversation without talking about former President Donald Trump and the January 6 hearings on Capitol Hill.

We have a guest with a lot of knowledge of Trump and who recently spoke to the January 6 committee: Mick Mulvaney. He’s a former South Carolina congressman from York County who went on to serve in the Trump administration, including a more than year-long stint as acting chief of staff.

Mick Mulvaney grew up in Charlotte, where he attended Charlotte Catholic High School.

He served in the South Carolina Legislature for four years before winning the state’s Fifth Congressional District seat in 2010, a position he left in 2017 to join the Trump Administration as director of the Office of Management and Budget and soon became acting director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

Then, in early 2019, he became President Trump’s acting White House chief of staff. He held the position for more than a year. He finished his time in the administration as an envoy to Northern Ireland.

He’s now a political analyst for CBS News.

On the Jan. 6 committee hearings:

My opinion of the committee continues to be that it is a political thing. It is not a criminal investigation. It's not even a formal investigation. It is a political investigation. And that's fine. As long as people acknowledge what it is. It's designed to make political points, to score political points. And I think that it's doing that... That being said, I think some of the information that's coming out of it is quite accurate.”

On the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson to the Jan. 6 committee regarding Mark Meadows, who replaced Mulvaney as chief of staff to President Trump:

“She testified that the president was upset because he was under the impression from Mark Meadows that he was going to be going to the Capitol. And then Bobby Engel, the head of his Secret Service detail, told him that that was not the plan. That, to me means that Mark Meadows was either incapable or unwilling to tell the president that he couldn't go to the Capitol and wasn't going to go to the Capitol. And he punted that to some lower-level staffer. Not that Bobby Engel is an unimportant staffer. He's the head of the Secret Service detail, a critical position, but it is subordinate to the chief of staff. Bobby engle doesn't get paid to tell the president stuff he doesn't want to hear. That's Mark Meadows’ job.”

On President Trump’s management style:

The president managed when I was there by conflict. He loved to have people disagree. He loved to consider himself the juror or the judge or the arbitrator. So if we had a trade discussion, he wanted Peter Navarro in there saying how we should put tariffs on everybody. And then he also wanted Steven Mnuchin or Gary Cohn in there saying we should be free traders. He likes that type of balance. So, yes, the crazies had a place in the Trump White House when I was there, but so did the so-called normal people, the sane people, that's the Donald Trump that I saw. What's being described to me now is a Donald Trump that had no interest at all in getting input from anybody who was telling him anything other than what the crazies were telling him. They had no interest in talking to Pat Cipollone about the law and no interest in talking to, I guess, Mike Pompeo or Steven Mnuchin or anybody about elections and so forth.”

On the prospect of Donald Trump possibly running for president again:

“I think Donald Trump is probably the only Republican who can lose in 2024 unless there's a dramatic turnabout in the economy unless there's something really different that changes that could happen — obviously two years is a good bit of time. But if you had to look your hand over right now and say, who's the weakest candidate against Joe Biden or Gavin Newsom or name a Democrat, Kamala Harris, Donald Trump may be the only Republican who could lose.”

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.
Jim Morrill is a native of the Chicago area who's worked in the Carolinas since 1979. He covered politics and government for the Charlotte Observer for almost 40 years. He's won several press awards and in 1999 was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He's taught about NC politics at UNC-Charlotte and Davidson College.
Tim Funk is one of the hosts of the "Inside Politics: Election 2022 podcast." He spent most of his 40-year journalism career at The Charlotte Observer, covering politics in its Raleigh bureau and, later, as its Washington correspondent. His other Observer beats over the years included race and immigration, TV and radio, and faith & values.