Former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday acknowledged that Donald Trump “didn’t hire very well” in the earlier stages of his presidency, specifically noting his poor working relationships with administration officials who had ties to the military.
“If there was one criticism that I would level against the president, [it] is that he didn’t hire very well. He did not have experience at running government and didn’t know how to put together a team that could work well with him,” Mulvaney, now the U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, told CNN’s “New Day.”
The remarks from Mulvaney, who was the West Wing’s top staffer from January 2019 until March 2020, come as the president is embroiled in several new controversies related to damaging accusations by former national security adviser John Bolton.
But Bolton is far from the first former senior administration official to offer an unflattering account of Trump’s conduct in office. Former White House chief of staff John Kelly, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others have all made critical comments regarding the president’s leadership.
Mulvaney argued Friday that many of those former officials “are folks who are either in the military or actively involved in the military,” judging that the “military personality is just not the type that works well with Donald Trump, who’s a small businessman who’s done extraordinarily well.”
Kelly and Mattis are retired Marine Corps generals and Spencer was a Marine Corps captain who went to work on Wall Street after leaving active duty. Tillerson, however, was the CEO of ExxonMobil before joining the administration and has no military background.
Although Trump famously vowed during his 2016 White House run to only “hire the best people” as president, he has unceremoniously ousted numerous high-ranking officials and routinely disparaged their intellects and job capabilities after they made disparaging assessments of him.
Trump has also struggled to square his hiring pledge with the prosecutorial results of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which ensnared his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, longtime informal political adviser Roger Stone and various other close allies.
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