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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

Go deeper

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign 15 executive actions on Day One

President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign 15 executive actions upon taking office Wednesday, immediately reversing key Trump administration policies.

Why it matters: The 15 actions — aimed at issues like climate change and immigration — mark more drastic immediate steps compared with the two day-one actions from Biden's four predecessors combined, according to incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Mike Allen, author of AM
19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The Swamp wins

President Trump on Jan. 28, 2017, with two aides he later pardoned — national security adviser Michael Flynn and strategist Steve Bannon. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

It was 12:50 a.m. on Inauguration Day when President Trump announced 143 pardons and commutations — including a pardon for Steve Bannon. 17 minutes later, the White House released an executive order that said it all about his failure to "drain the Swamp," as he'd promised in the '16 campaign.

Driving the news: Trump revoked an executive order, signed eight days after he took office, that limits his appointees' lobbying for five years after leaving the administration.

Trump stock market underperformed Obama's

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

U.S. stock markets hit record highs during President Trump's time in office, but mostly underperformed his predecessor.

By the numbers: The stock market selloff that followed the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic wiped out three and a half years' worth of market gains for Trump. As of March 23, 2020, the S&P 500 had lost 1.5% since Trump's first day in office.