Mulvaney digging into White House to make Trump Trumpier, consolidate his own power

Whether he’s a true believer or a true opportunist, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is intent on making Donald Trump as Trumpy as possible. That means, according to an interview Mulvaney gave Politico, reshaping the communications team for “the boss” so they “spend a little more time being proactive, and a little less time being reactive.”

“We’ve got a great message to sell,” he said. “We want to talk about the economy. We want to talk about healthcare. We want to talk about trade, so if we can try to drive the narrative a little bit more, we think that would be a valuable improvement.” The problem with “we” talking about all that and trying to drive the narrative is that Trump (along with his itchy Twitter fingers) is already ahead of them. They can only be reactive to what Trump says and does, and Mulvaney saying he wants to get more messengers out there talking to the press really amounts to more Mulvaney and more Trump setting the message.

He’s keeping the communications team that exists now, including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, with whom he “enjoys a good relationship,” and “who remains one of the president’s closest confidants in the White House, according to three senior administration officials.” That doesn’t mean she’ll actually be doing her real job, as they have no intention of reinstating regular press briefings. He also will not replace deputy chief of staff Bill Shine, who was brought in as director of the communications team. They apparently have decided five tries at having someone direct communications in just over two years was enough, with Sean Spicer, Mike Dubke, Anthony Scaramucci, and Hope Hicks preceding Shine in that job.

Mulvaney seems to be taking all of it on himself, as he’s done pretty much everything in the Trump administration (remember that Mulvaney is also the director of the Office of Management and Budget). He’s consolidating his own power by letting Trump have free rein. The more he lets Trump do whatever the hell he wants, the stronger Mulvaney’s own position is. The maniacs are definitely in charge now.


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