Trump replaces Mick Mulvaney with Mark Meadows as chief of staff

Author: Caroline Kelly and Maegan Vazquez/ CNN
FILE – In this Jan. 29, 2020, file photo, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., speaks with reporters. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

President Donald Trump announced Friday night that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney would be replaced by Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

“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,” Trump tweeted Friday.

Trump, who did not immediately offer an explanation for the swap, thanked Mulvaney, who he said would become special envoy for Northern Ireland.

“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,” Trump added. “Thank you!”

Mulvaney has been a fixture of Trump’s administration in various roles over the past three years.

The former South Carolina congressman was ensnared in the impeachment inquiry over his involvement in the Trump administration’s effort to withhold disbursing security aid to Ukraine.

White House staff and the President had lost confidence in Mulvaney last fall after he failed to quickly produce an effective strategy to defend the President after news of an intelligence community whistleblower complaint, which eventually became the basis for the impeachment inquiry, was made public. But the President was convinced not to act by close aides who argued that a leadership change in the White House during impeachment could cause unnecessary chaos.

And last October, Mulvaney also irritated Trump when the former acting chief of staff confirmed during a press briefing that the President froze the security aid, in part, to pressure the country to investigate Trump’s Democratic rivals.

He later tried to walk back his statement.

“I have news for everybody: Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy,” Mulvaney said during the briefing.

Following the President’s request on holding the Ukraine aid last summer, Mulvaney was warned by a staff member at White House Office of Management and Budget when he asked whether a hold could be justified, according to The New York Times.

“I’m just trying to tie up some loose ends,” Mulvaney wrote in a June 27 email, according to the Times. “Did we ever find out about the money for Ukraine and whether we can hold it back?”

Mulvaney was subpoenaed by House Democrats as part of the impeachment investigation but the White House asserted executive privilege and he never testified.

Though the role does not require confirmation, the President never acted to remove the word “acting” from his title.

Mulvaney had become increasingly unhappy in the role, aware it has been diminished, people familiar with the dynamics said.

Mulvaney took the chief of staff role after serving as director of the Office of Management and Budget, a role he’d held since the start of the Trump administration. Mulvaney also served as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2017-2018.

Mulvaney moved into the White House role after Nick Ayers, Pence’s former chief of staff, declined the offer to replace John Kelly.

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