In the middle of a rapidly escalating pandemic, President Trump has finally decided to fill that chief of staff slot that's technically been vacant since John Kelly left at the end of 2018.
Mick Mulvaney has been serving as acting chief of staff while also leading the critical Office of Management and Budget (OMB). But many have gotten used to him as chief of staff, a far more visible role where Mulvaney has nevertheless suffered a handful of embarrassing gaffes, despite his overall competence performance. Mulvaney also served as head of the CFPB until December 2018.
However, after more than a year with Mulvaney in the acting role, Trump has apparently decided to appoint North Carolina Congressman and Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows, long rumored as a potential chief of staff candidate, to the position in a series of tweets sent at 8pmET on a Friday.
For whatever reason (perhaps because rumors that Mulvaney has somehow displeased Trump are true), Mulvaney is being shipped off to Belfast as the US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.
Trump made the announcement on Twitter:
"I am pleased to announce that Congressman Mark Meadows will become White House Chief of Staff. I have long known and worked with Mark, and the relationship is a very good one...I want to thank Acting Chief Mick Mulvaney for having served the Administration so well. He will become the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Thank you!"
I am pleased to announce that Congressman Mark Meadows will become White House Chief of Staff. I have long known and worked with Mark, and the relationship is a very good one....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2020
....I want to thank Acting Chief Mick Mulvaney for having served the Administration so well. He will become the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2020
Notably, Meadows will get the full title, no "acting" which Mulvaney allegedly kept so he could earn the highest salary of his many roles (that of head of the OMB).
Meadows gets the full title. Not “acting,” which Mulvaney had, and recently told the Oxford Union he kept so he could keep his higher OMB salary. https://t.co/B8x0cjNx1Y— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 7, 2020
This caps off a busy day for Trump.
Donald Trump’s day so far:— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) March 7, 2020
- Fires Mick Mulvaney
- Ships him off to Northern Ireland
- Names Mark Meadows new White House Chief of Staff
- Attacks Governor Jay Inslee
- Botches Grand Princess outbreak
- It’s all falling apart
- Trump is going to prison
- It’s still only 8:15pm
It wouldn't be a Trump twitter firing if the person being fired didn't find out at the same time as everyone else...we look forward to Mulvaney telling the world how the secret service showed up at his house in the middle of dinner and told him to pack his bags and grab his passport.
Does Mulvaney know? https://t.co/OkbHNlSP7j— Katie Phang (@KatiePhang) March 7, 2020
Whatever the reason for this firing (was it a mix of tension-induced panic and rage?, we're sure we'll read the 'full story' this weekend in the NYT or Washington Post.