Fox News anchor Chris Wallace didn’t allow former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to use his program to rehabilitate his reputation on Sunday, repeatedly confronting the ex-Trump aide over his personal “responsibility for enabling” President Donald Trump’s behavior.
Last week, Mulvaney joined a bevy of Trump administration officials to resign following Wednesday’s deadly insurrectionist Capitol riot that the president incited. “Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in,” Mulvaney said after announcing he was stepping down as special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland.
Interviewing Mulvaney on Fox News Sunday, Wallace first pressed the former Republican congressman on whether he supported either the 25th Amendment or impeachment to remove the president from office before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. After calling the amendment a “clumsy tool,” he remained indecisive about whether he’d vote for impeachment if he were in Congress.
“I’m not trying to dodge the question but that’s probably the most serious question you can ask any member of Congress,” he said, adding that members of both parties will look at this impeachment “very, very differently” than they did last year’s.
“Mick, when you announced your resignation this week, you said that you felt ‘embarrassment and shame.’ Do you feel any responsibility?” Wallace followed up. “You were chief of staff for more than a year, do you feel any responsibility for enabling Donald Trump?”
Mulvaney, meanwhile, claimed that when he wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed six weeks ago saying he thought Trump would “leave in a presidential manner,” he really believed it at the time.
“I’ve seen the president be presidential before and I know that he has the ability to do it. He did it every single day,” Mulvaney insisted. “I don’t know what’s different, if it’s different about him now, if it’s different about his advisers.”
The ex-chief of staff further stated that the president has now surrounded himself with people who “simply tell him what he wants to hear and reaffirm exactly what they think he wants them to say,” insisting that is “very different” than what occurred at the White House when he was still around.
“Mick, respectfully, there are people who say he isn’t different, this is the Donald Trump you worked for,” Wallace shot back, playing a clip of former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Mulvaney’s predecessor, saying he implored Trump not to hire a “yes man” to replace him because he’d be impeached.
“Kelly says specifically that you and others didn’t have the spine to tell the president no,” the veteran anchor added.
Mulvaney disagreed that he was spineless around Trump before defending his time in the White House and the way the president behaved during his tenure as chief of staff.
“We were very proud of the work that we were doing. Very proud of letting the president be the president because he was elected as the president,” he continued. “But again, all of that changed on Wednesday and I don’t know why.”
The Fox News Sunday moderator kept holding Mulvaney’s feet to the fire, pointing out that it was during Mulvaney’s time in the White House that Trump was impeached for pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden. He also noted that Mulvaney defended the president’s actions at the time.
“It was a political event, it was a show trial,” Mulvaney insisted. “I don’t want to get into this too heavily today but that has nothing to do—the reason I didn’t resign back then was the president did nothing wrong. The president did nothing wrong back then.”
Wallace wouldn’t let Mulvaney off the hook, however, pressing him further on why he didn’t resign over other objectionable actions taken by the president, such as Trump defending white supremacists at Charlottesville or the administration separating parents from children at the border.
“Chris, these are policy differences,” Mulvaney exclaimed. “These are things that you think the country should look one way, we think it should look another.”
“These are differences of style, the way the president speaks,” he concluded. “Did he misspeak at Charlottesville? Yes. Should he have corrected it? Yes. Did he handle it poorly? Yes. It’s not something people resign over.”