Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Mulvaney calls out Republican hypocrisy on deficits under Trump

Mulvaney at the press podium at the white house
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

In a speech at the Oxford Union on Wednesday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged it's hypocritical of the Republican Party to criticize deficits under the Obama administration and ignore them under President Trump, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The deficit has ballooned under the Trump administration and is expected to surpass $1 trillion in 2020, despite Trump's promise on the 2016 campaign trail to eliminate the national debt in eight years.

  • Mulvaney, who was known as a fiscal hawk in Congress and served as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget under Trump, called the growing deficit "extraordinarily disturbing."
  • Trump's 2021 budget proposes $4.6 trillion in deficit reduction, but it would take 15 years to balance.

Other highlights:

  • On climate change: Mulvaney acknowledged that climate change is occurring, but claimed there's a debate about its causes. “We take the position in my party that asking people to change their lifestyle dramatically, including by paying more taxes, is simply not something we are interested in doing."
  • On impeachment: Mulvaney claimed Trump froze military aid to Ukraine because the country had a corruption problem and because of lack of burden sharing with Europe — despite former national security John Bolton writing in his book that it was to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. He also joked about the infamous press conference in which he admitted a "quid pro quo" occurred, calling it a mistake.
  • On his acting status: "It’d be a $20,000 pay cut to take the job," Mulvaney said, brushing off concerns that he's never been appointed permanently. "A life expectancy of a chief of staff is roughly 18 months. Generally speaking, this job does not last that long. ... Who knows how much longer I’m going to last?”

Go deeper: Former chief of staff John Kelly unloads on Trump

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