“Mulvaney’s monstrous mistake,” is how former GOP congressman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough described the last five days for Trump’s acting chief of staff.
Even Fox News star Sean Hannity could not believe what he had just heard from the President’s acting Chief of Staff. “I just think he’s dumb, I really do,” Hannity said in shock. “I don’t even think he knows what he’s talking about.”
It started with Mulvaney admitting Thursday that he and the President were part of a criminal quid pro quo — and continued through an interview with the friendly Fox News for Sunday to explain himself that ended up looking like a brutal car-crash.
Trump’s most pugnacious supporter has landed his boss in some serious hot water. Here’s the timeline.
On Thursday 17th October, Mick Mulvaney stood in front of reporters to make some announcements and answer some questions. It was a rare yet routine outing. But it did not go according to plan.
Mulvaney openly admitted to reporters that the President of the United States had withheld military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to open an investigation that would benefit Donald Trump. He said it was a ‘quid pro quo‘.
Not only did the Chief of Staff admit to the same criminal allegations being pursued by impeachment investigators, but he also said it was perfectly fine. It was the first time the White House admitted a direct link between the withheld aid and President Trump’s political agenda.
What he said
“Did [President Trump] also mention to me in passing the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely—no question about that. That’s it, and that’s why we held up the money,” Mulvaney told reporters.
“What happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation, and that is absolutely appropriate.”
ABC’s Jon Karl said Mulvaney had just described the sort of ‘quid pro quo’ arrangement Trump and his team has repeatedly denied.
Mulvaney responded: “I have news for everybody: get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.”
The stunned reaction
The announcement, all on camera, was so brazen even GOP Senators could not believe their ears. “You don’t hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative,” said GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. “Period.”
Republican Rep. Francis Rooney of Florida said Mulvaney’s statement was “troubling,” adding that it was “not a good thing” to do that in connection “with threatening foreign leaders.”
He added: “I’m not going to say anything about [the Impeachment vote] until all the facts are in. I remember too many people saying, ‘Oh, this is a witch hunt against Richard Nixon,’ and come to find out it wasn’t a witch hunt.”
Mulvaney later tried to walk back those comments but the it was all caught on tape
Ok, in light of Mulvaney's new claim that he never said they held up the money over the "DNC server", let's run the tape. pic.twitter.com/h2Em3GGvYy
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 17, 2019
On Sunday, it gets worse
Mulvaney told Chris Wallace that he had only listed two reasons why the aid to Ukraine was withheld: corruption and help from other European nations.
Wallace retorted: “I hate to go through this but you said what you said. And the fact is, after that exchange with [ABC News reporter] Jonathan Karl, you were asked another time why the aid was held up. What was the condition for the aid? And you didn’t mention two conditions, you mentioned three conditions.”
Then he played the tape for Mulvaney again. It was brutal to watch. And then it got worse.
When asked about why the President decided to host the G-7 summit at his own hotel, Mulvaney said:
“At the end of the day, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.”
To which Wallace responded: “I just have to pick up: You say he considers himself in the hospitality business? He’s the president of the United States.”
"You said what you said!" – absolutely BRUTAL grilling of Mulvaney by Chris Wallace on quid pro quo. pic.twitter.com/eqHkRZlbM5
— Tommy X-TrumpIsARacist-opher (@tommyxtopher) October 20, 2019
Whether Mulvaney joins the long list of people who have departed the White House is merely a matter of time.
But in the process he has done the nation a favor -i by exposing the criminal thinking behind his boss’s decision.