Mulvaney, commenting on criticism from former Trump administration officials, criticized Trump for the people he hired for high-level positions. He said Trump learned from John Bolton the hard way that hiring good business people doesn’t translate to the denizens of the Washington establishment.
“We pay a lot of attention to it because we’re from Washington, D.C. You’re from Washington, D.C. I’m back home in South Carolina thankfully. But, you know, it makes for a good news story for a couple days, something interesting, but I don’t think it drives an election one way or the other nor should it,” Mulvaney said to Chuck Todd.
“If you look back at those comments of the president running for office what the president didn’t know was Washington, D.C. and hiring good business people is one thing. People in Washington, D.C. are different and he learned the hard way with John Bolton,” Mulvaney said.
“I give the president credit for this,” Mulvaney said of Trump’s hiring practice. “He was not afraid to hire people that he knew would disagree with him. It’s one of the reasons he hired me to run the Office of Management and Budget because he knew I was more fiscally conservative than he was. He welcomed that. He welcomed the difference of opinion. Where I think he made a mistake is not realizing that Washington, D.C. full of people not interested in engaging in a debate, they’re interested in just sort of winning an argument and that’s what John Bolton was.”
“We had a lot of folks who had different opinions than the president,” Mulvaney continued. “They’d go in the Over Office, make their case and the president would make the ultimate decision and then almost all of us would line up and say, ‘I had my say. I participated in the debate. I will be able to go forward and in good conscious support what the president decided, except Bolton. Bolton’s never willing to accept it. Still isn’t. He’s still continuing to undermine the president today because he doesn’t like the president’s policies. He wants to be more militarily aggressive. He’d love to be at war with Iran, I think. I think he’d like to have military intervention in Venezuela, maybe in Korea. The president doesn’t want any of those things. And instead of going along with the president after having his say, Bolton would continue to try to undermine him.”
“We have never seen a sitting president have a former Secretary of Defense, a former chief of staff, a former National Security Adviser and a former Secretary of State question thetheir fitness for office. That’s a big hurdle to go into re-election with, is it not?” Todd asked.
“Oh, I think it’s much more an inside the beltway kind of discussion,” Mulvaney said. “I don’t think most voters really care what Secretary Tillerson thinks about the president or honestly quite honestly vice versa. We pay a lot of attention to it because we’re from Washington, D.C. You’re from Washington, D.C. I’m back home in South Carolina thankfully. But, you know, it makes for a good news story for a couple days, something interesting, but I don’t think it drives an election one way or the other nor should it.”