Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney (SFS ’89) began his tenure as acting White House chief of staff on Wednesday. Mulvaney replaces Gen. John Kelly (GRD ’84), who became President Donald Trump’s chief of staff in July 2017 and stepped down effective Wednesday.
Trump appointed Mulvaney to serve as chief of staff Dec. 14.
Mulvaney has served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget since February 2017 and also served as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau until Kathleen Kraninger (LAW ’07) was confirmed as the new CFPB director Dec. 6.
Trump announced Mulvaney’s appointment through Twitter, highlighting Mulvaney’s previous work in the Trump administration.
“Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration,” Trump wrote. “I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
The timeline of Mulvaney’s position as acting chief of staff still remains undetermined, with no clear end date in sight for his tenure, according to The Washington Post.
Despite his new position, Mulvaney will not resign from his current role as director of the OMB, instead concurrently serving as OMB director and chief of staff. Mulvaney, however, will devote himself to his role as chief of staff, while deputy director of the OMB Russell Vought will oversee the OMB’s day-to-day operations, according to The Washington Post.
Mulvaney’s appointment comes after other high-profile candidates pulled out of consideration for the position. Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, and former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), previously considered leading candidates, both announced they were no longer seeking the position, according to NPR.
Mulvaney is one of many Georgetown alumni currently working in the Trump administration, including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (CAS ’69, LAW ’73), Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (SFS ’94) and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie (GRD ’92), among others.
Mulvaney graduated from the School of Foreign Service in 1989 with a degree in international economics. While at Georgetown, Mulvaney never intended to go into politics as a career, he said at an on-campus event on tax reform in October 2017.
However, after earning a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and joining a South Carolina law firm, Mulvaney ran for and won election to a seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2006.
After winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, Mulvaney began his career in federal government and co-founded the conservative Freedom Caucus, according to CNN.
Mulvaney responded to his appointment on Twitter, calling the position “a tremendous honor.”
Many Democrats have criticized Trump’s selection of Mulvaney. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Mulvaney’s record at the CFPB indicates that he will not provide the organization and structure the U.S. government needs at this time.
“What he did at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was destroy an agency and undermine its mission,” Blumenthal told The New York Times. “He seems to be a Trump surrogate with a clear agenda, and my fear is he will exacerbate divisions at a time when they need to be bridged.”
Democrats also raised objections during Mulvaney’s confirmation hearings to be director of the OMB after he revealed last fall that he did not pay $15,000 in payroll taxes for a household nanny.
Mulvaney will steer the White House as it deals with not only Kelly’s resignation but also the resignations of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy to the global coalition working to defeat the Islamic State. Both Mattis and McGurk cited disagreements with the president’s plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which Trump announced Dec. 19, as reasons for their departure.
Mulvaney begins his tenure as the government is in the second week of its partial shutdown, which began after Trump and Democrats could not come to agreement over the the president’s demands for $5 billion in funding for his proposed border wall.
Even as Mulvaney faces these obstacles, his appointment further exemplifies the commitment many Georgetown alumni have to public service, a university spokesperson wrote in an email to The Hoya.
“Georgetown produces dedicated public servants and we’re honored to have a number of alumni serve during each Administration,” the spokesperson wrote.