SEVERE WX : High Wind Warning View Alerts

Why Mulvaney can't save Trump's chaos presidency

President Donald Trump has announced his final choice in the chief of staff sweepstakes: Budget Director Mic...

Posted: Dec 16, 2018 11:18 AM
Updated: Dec 16, 2018 11:18 AM

President Donald Trump has announced his final choice in the chief of staff sweepstakes: Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. The announcement, made predictably via Twitter on Friday, ends more than a week of "Apprentice"-like scrambling to figure out who would replace outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly. Nick Ayers (Vice President Mike Pence's former chief of staff), Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie and David Bossie were all in the mix.

Mulvaney, who will serve as "acting" chief of staff, brings skills to the table that might be helpful in this job under normal circumstances. He was elected as a congressman for the 5th District of South Carolina in 2010 and became part of the Tea Party Revolution on Capitol Hill. Mulvaney has fostered strong relationships with Republicans in Congress (although House Democrats don't like him). He also has experience managing things: He is director of the Office of Management and Budget and recently stepped down as the acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Political Figures - US

Politics

US federal government

White House

Government organizations - US

Mick Mulvaney

US Congress

US House of Representatives

But skill sets don't matter in what might be the most thankless job in Washington. The Trump White House is in turmoil and under investigation. It is run by a President who refuses to listen to any adviser and eventually turns on almost everyone around him, and is in conversation with a political party desperately trying to figure out why it should stay loyal to its leader.

None of these conditions makes the chief of staff position appealing. Mulvaney, who will be Trump's third chief of staff, is stepping into a political hurricane, not unlike when Al Haig became President Richard Nixon's chief of staff in May 1973.

But while there will be speculation about whether Mulvaney can turn things around, there is no hope. What we see is what we will continue to get. The structural problems facing any chief of staff working for this President are immense and won't go away.

Trump runs a freewheeling administration where he is the one in charge. While it is possible that a skillful COS might bring order to the Oval Office -- as Kelly appeared to do early in his 16-month tenure -- he will always be subservient to a President who sows chaos.

Mulvaney also steps in when this presidency is in a full-blown crisis. The combination of a newly elected House Democratic majority and the rapid intensification of investigations into wrongdoing and corruption means that Mulvaney will spend much of his time trying to keep this ship from sinking -- and himself out of trouble. There will be few opportunities for pushing legislative breakthroughs, and there is always the chance he will get swept up in the inquiry.

The best that Trump's supporters can hope for is that Mulvaney establishes some kind of managerial order and gets in Trump's ear when the President exhibits his worst tendencies. But don't bet on it.

The problem facing Mulvaney is the problem facing anyone in this broken White House. This at-risk President has insulated himself from advice and counsel essential to saving himself.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2988326

Reported Deaths: 33589
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles101466213848
San Bernardino2512131560
Riverside2394122517
San Diego2117872103
Orange2108132367
Santa Clara926251065
Kern84644565
Fresno81294932
Sacramento791221080
Alameda66583757
Ventura60368412
San Joaquin56642748
Contra Costa51573446
Stanislaus42337739
Tulare40655501
Monterey35418250
San Mateo31805294
San Francisco28853254
Imperial25140463
Solano24732105
Santa Barbara24149231
Sonoma23607234
Merced23492296
Kings19125133
Placer16995173
San Luis Obispo15466128
Madera13193130
Santa Cruz12026113
Marin11482153
Yolo10406131
Shasta9594117
Butte9359121
El Dorado757544
Sutter756077
Napa735639
Lassen509413
San Benito488243
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada314473
Mendocino307631
Amador298629
Lake250428
Humboldt229424
Glenn189419
Colusa16919
Calaveras159623
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8532
Plumas5735
Modoc3793
Mariposa3444
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
Chico
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 68°
Oroville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 72°
Chico
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 68°
Red Bluff
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 69°
Red Bluff
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 69°
Chico
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Very gusty winds, dry weather, and warm temperatures are ahead for your Martin Luther King Jr. Day today. We'll be very windy, but not as warm on Tuesday. Lighter winds, cooler temperatures, and the potential for wet weather will return in your extended forecast.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events