Newly-appointed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is advising Donald Trump to stand firm in his shutdown negotiations with Democrats. Mulvaney and other Trump advisers are telling the president he should not accept any deal from Democrats that does not include fully funding his plans for a border wall with Mexico.
According to POLITICO, sources in the White House say that the chief of staff is one of several top Trump aides who are counseling him to reject any bills from Congress that do not supply the $5 billion the White House is demanding to begin construction of a border wall.
“Democrats would like to try to increase spending on anything but the wall,” a person close to Mulvaney said. “Mulvaney sees his role as reminding the president this is a bad deal.”
Mulvaney and a few other Trump aides stayed in Washington over Christmas and New Years with Trump who decided to forego his Florida vacation due to the partial government shutdown.
Before becoming acting White House chief of staff, Mulvaney had been the head of the Office of Management and Budget (a position which he still holds). In that role he tried to secure alternate means of funding for Trump’s border wall. This endeared him to the president who appreciated that he was seeking different ways to come up with money to build the wall.
In December Mulvaney defended Trump’s plans for funding the border security measures despite Trump’s campaign promises to make Mexico pay for it. He said at the time that Mexico’s contributions to Trump’s new trade de would make up for the difference.
“American workers are going to do better, the government is going to do better, and you could make the argument that Mexico is paying for it in that fashion,” Mulvaney said at the time.
Of course nobody bought that argument except the president himself. The trade deal has not even gone into effect and needs the approval of Congress which may never happen. And saying that trade deals provide money to build the wall is ridiculous because wall money would come from the U.S. government treasury, which is already operating at a deficit.
The fact that Donald Trump is listening to advice from Mick Mulvaney is bad news for America. He has nothing but bad ideas, and many of his comments about the U.S. budget have been ridiculous. And his advice to stand firm on the border wall funding means the shutdown will continue longer than necessary — and it will hurt the Republican Party even as it excites and pleases the small minority of racist Trump supporters who believe a wall is necessary and America should pay for it.