Opinion | The Unraveling of Mick Mulvaney – By Michelle Cottle – The New York Times


Michelle Cottle NYT

Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

CreditCreditIllustration by The New York Times; photographs by Doug Mills/The New York Times, Samuel Corum for The New York Times, and Getty Images

“There he goes again.

This weekend, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, sat down with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” to try to bind some of the gaping wounds he’d inflicted on President Trump’s impeachment defense in recent days. Instead, Mr. Mulvaney again flubbed his lines, making himself look even more inept and dishonest. Yet this alone does not fully address why the White House ringmaster now finds himself an object of ridicule even among members of his own party — a situation for which he is only partly to blame.

Mr. Mulvaney’s adventure began on Thursday at a news briefing held so that he could explain why Mr. Trump’s decision to host next year’s Group of 7 summit at the struggling Trump Doral golf resort in Miami was not another bit of naked self-dealing — or, as Mr. Trump himself put it on Monday, not a violation of “this phony Emoluments clause.” After a deluge of criticism from Republicans, Mr. Trump reversed the decision on Saturday, blaming “the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners” for causing a fuss.

Journalists being the impertinent nudges they are, Mr. Mulvaney soon found himself fielding questions about impeachment. Next thing you know, he’s peevishly lecturing everyone that not only had Mr. Trump’s order to withhold aid money from Ukraine been partly contingent on Ukraine agreeing to investigate his political enemies but that this sort of thing happens all the time. “I have news for everybody: Get over it,” he snipped.

Now, while Mr. Trump’s apologists have not yet settled on a precise rationalization for why the president pressured a foreign government to meddle in American elections, some defenders have clung to the position that there was no quid pro quo. As such, Mr. Mulvaney’s admission, delivered on camera and in front of the press corps, was not met with universal acclaim within Trumpworld.”

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