Mick Mulvaney called then-candidate Donald Trump “a terrible human being” in a video from November 2016 that re-surfaced Friday, hours after the president named him as acting White House chief of staff.
The remarks came one week before the presidential election during a debate between Mulvaney, then a Republican congressman from South Carolina, and his Democratic challenger at a middle school in York, South Carolina, according to The Daily Beast, which first published the footage.
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Asked if he was supporting his party’s candidate for the White House, Mulvaney replied: “Sure. If I have any chance to accomplish what the majority of the Fifth District of South Carolina sent me to Washington to do, Donald Trump has to be president. Period. That’s it.”
Revising America’s health care system, balancing the federal budget and other policy goals popular among his constituents could only be accomplished if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was defeated on Election Day, Mulvaney argued.
“Do I like Donald Trump? No,” Mulvaney said, insisting that the real estate mogul and reality TV showman was “absolutely not” a role model for his two sons. But Mulvaney also said that Clinton was not a role model for his daughter, adding: “I don’t like her very much, either.”
“We have perhaps two of the most flawed human beings running for president in the history of the country,” Mulvaney said. “So I have to step back and look and say, ‘OK, what do y’all, the majority of the folks who vote for me, want me to do?’ In order to accomplish that, I have to support Donald Trump, and he has to win.”
Mulvaney warned that Clinton’s election would not be an extension of her husband’s time in office, but instead would amount to a third term for the more liberal agenda of former President Barack Obama. “That’s a four years we can’t take,” he said.
“Yes, I’m supporting Donald Trump,” Mulvaney said. “I’m doing so as enthusiastically as I can, given the fact that I think he’s a terrible human being. But the choice on the other side is just as bad.”
Trump, in a tweet Friday, announced that Mulvaney would take over as his top aide following White House chief of staff John Kelly’s departure in January. Mulvaney has served as the director of the administration’s Office of Management and Budget since the outset of Trump’s presidency.
“I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration….” Trump wrote online.
In another post, the president continued: “….I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! John will be staying until the end of the year. He is a GREAT PATRIOT and I want to personally thank him for his service!”
Mulvaney, quoting Trump’s message later Friday evening, tweeted: “This is a tremendous honor. I look forward to working with the President and the entire team. It’s going to be a great 2019!”