Trump’s new chief of staff seems ready to suck up to survive this White House

Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff, seems to have learned a lesson from watching his predecessors: Don’t try to control Donald Trump if you want to survive. Where John Kelly tried to limit staff access to Trump, to keep people from getting him all worked up and running off in unhelpful directions, Mulvaney is just hoping to be kept in the loop on who’s been talking to Trump, and about what.

Telling aides they would have their own access to Trump, Mulvaney said that “You’re all adults,” which is … debatable, though at least as far as we know he didn’t say that to Trump himself.

Mulvaney is especially staying out of the way of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Mulvaney seems content to let J-Kush play The Man In Charge, pretending like he’s going to solve the government shutdown just like he solved all tensions in the Middle East. Again, it’s a good survival tactic in the Trump White House, though not necessarily a good management tactic. No doubt this understanding of how to win Trump’s approval is how Mulvaney moved from Office of Management and Budget head to acting chief of staff, with a side gig at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau along the way.

Has Trump found the suck-up he’s been looking for all along? Eh, he’ll get sick of this one, too. And maybe that’s the other lesson Mulvaney has learned—only take the job in an acting capacity so you can get out before you’re kicked out, reputation as intact as is possible for anyone in Trumpworld.


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