Mulvaney’s ‘One Criticism’ Of Trump Is That ‘He Didn’t Hire Very Well’

White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney speaks during a press briefing at the White House on October 17, 2019. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said that the problem of John Bolton’s book, which has reignited a tradition of former Trump staffers criticizing the president’s competence for office, could be explained away by Trump’s faulty hiring practices. 

“If there was one criticism that I would level against the president it’s that he didn’t hire very well,” Mulvaney told CNN anchor Jim Sciutto in an interview on Friday. “He did not have experience in running government and didn’t know how to put together a team that could work well with him.”

Mulvaney called many elements of Bolton’s forthcoming tell-all book “factually false.” He joins a chorus of White House officials who have jumped into the line of fire to defend the president against criticism that has been leveled against his fitness for office by ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton.

But Bolton is not the first former White House official who, after working closely with the president, has raised questions of Trump’s competence for office.

Sciutto pointed out a long list of former officials of Trump’s inner circle — James Mattis, John Kelly and Richard Spencer — who have emerged from the White House relieved of their duties and criticized Trump as egoistic and unfit for the job.

“Are all of them liars when they say that this president is not up to the job?” Sciutto asked.

Mulvaney, who was instrumental in the Ukraine dealings that became the center of the House impeachment inquires last fall, refrained from calling the roster of ex-Trump officials liars. Instead he chalked the bad-mouthing up to a mismatch in personalities. 

“The military personality is just not the type that works well with Donald Trump, who’s a small business man who’s done extraordinarily well,” Mulvaney said. 

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, however, came into the administration from a massive oil company.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to Bolton, also had complaints about Trump, which he has not expressed publicly.

Mulvaney insisted that his long history with Pompeo would have likely made him privy to any complaints had there been any.  

“Mike Pompeo has never said an ill word about the president of the United States to me in public or in private,” Mulvaney said.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: