President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney railed against the so-called “deep state” during an appearance at the Oxford Union in the UK earlier this week, according to two attendees and quotes of his remarks provided to CNN.
Asked whether a “deep state” of government employees is actively undermining Trump’s agenda, Mulvaney replied that was “absolutely” the case. “One-hundred percent true,” he told the crowd, adding that he viewed civil servants as employees who should be carrying out the administration’s policies. Federal workers are not in their jobs to “make decisions” and should quit if they disagree with Trump’s agenda, Mulvaney continued. One attendee at the event said Mulvaney was “emphatic” that Democratic-leaning government employees are attempting to thwart Trump at every turn.
Mulvaney appeared at the historic free speech society under the condition that there would be no video or audio recording of his remarks, attendees said. However, recordings did leak out of the event and quotes from Mulvaney’s remarks were provided to CNN. Portions of his remarks were also reported by The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Mulvaney defended his infamous news conference where he appeared to acknowledge a quid pro quo between the Trump administration and Ukraine, insisting once again he had misspoken. Asked about his decision and the choice made by other top officials not to testify during the impeachment inquiry, Mulvaney insisted that was never a possibility due to the President’s right to assert “executive privilege.”
“We were the least likely to ever go down and testify,” Mulvaney told the crowd.
Once a budget hawk who is now presiding over an administration running up large deficits, Mulvaney conceded there was some hypocrisy in how Trump is spending taxpayer money.
“My party was very interested in the deficit until there wasn’t a Democrat in the White House” Mulvaney said.
Mulvaney was also frank about why he continues to hold the “acting” title, telling the audience he makes more money that way.
“I’m going to be very candid, why don’t I care? Because there’s a $20,000 pay cut to take the job,” Mulvaney said. “I have kids in college,” he added.
When pressed on what the administration was doing to combat the climate crisis, Mulvaney argued the White House would rather focus on cleaning up plastic in the oceans instead of clamping down on greenhouse gasses, as picking up trash is something people can actually see. Mulvaney said he doubted Americans were ready to make any serious sacrifices to curb the effects of global warming.
Mulvaney said he didn’t think people were willing to “change their lifestyle, including paying more taxes.” That kind of policy “is not something we’re interested in doing,” he said.
The White House declined to comment on Mulvaney’s remarks when asked multiple times by CNN.
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