If you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, Mick Mulvaney’s full throated endorsement of a Donald Trump presidency condemns him better than I ever could.
There is some courage in admitting an opinion like his, that the most obnoxious and least qualified candidate in the history of the Republic should hold its highest office. Others play footsie with the idea of supporting “the nominee,” in the interest of being able to deny it when such support inevitably becomes a liability someday, but Mick Mulvaney will never be able to hide from his support. I can at least congratulate him for holding such a bothersome idea so forthrightly, even though it may well affect his future political ambitions.
Support for Trump has little to do with politics. There are plenty of old-fashioned, Chamber of Commerce Republicans who condemn his antics, puzzle over his “policies,” and loathe his backstory. Even some extremely conservative folks have real problems with his lack of experience, his coddling of extreme elements, and his ability to seemingly hold two conflicting policy positions at once. Some of them will vote for him anyway, in the interest of defeating his opponent. I won’t say I agree, but at least their opinions of Trump match their more deeply held beliefs.
Mick Mulvaney’s do not. He opposes nearly everything Donald Trump seems to stand for, yet he stands with Trump anyway.
In a January 2016 radio interview, Mulvaney made a sensible statement: “I’m not a big fan of Vladimir Putin, I don’t know who would be.”
Compare that with the man whom he fervently supports for the White House.
On the same radio program, just a month later, Mick Mulvaney was asked about his ideal Presidential candidate. He responded, sensibly, “I want someone who can have an intelligent conversation on the issues.”
Then why does he support the guy about whom Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says “it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t know a lot about the issues?”
Mick Mulvaney often names the debt and budget his number one issue. Fox Business reported that Trump’s plans would increase the national debt by $11.5 trillion. I suppose the debt isn’t as near and dear to Mulvaney’s heart as you might think.
So if Donald Trump conflicts with so many of Mick Mulvaney’s deeply held (cough) principles, why is he supporting him? Over a year ago, Mulvaney claimed he “has a very tough time taking Trump seriously.” What could have possibly changed his mind?
Well, he says Trump would make his job “more fun and entertaining.” That’s important. Wouldn’t want the guy getting bored while he makes $174,000 for working 111 days a year. I wonder if his expectation that “it’s going to be kind of fun” having Donald Trump at the top of his ticket has turned out as he expected.
Many of Mulvaney’s Republican supporters (or former supporters) have found it hard to believe that such a “principled conservative” would support a guy like Donald Trump. “I support Mr. Trump, and have made that explicitly clear here dozens of times,” Mulvaney told people on his Facebook page. He brushed off the many concerns about Trump’s offensive rhetoric or his coddling of racist elements, saying “If I thought Trump was a bigot, misogynist or an outright idiot, I wouldn’t be supporting him. But I don’t think that. I am sorry that you apparently do.”
Left unsaid: what Mulvaney thinks might qualify a person as a bigot, misogynist, or an outright idiot, but the rest of America seems to have a pretty good idea.
Mick Mulvaney and Donald Trump have apparently been a mutual admiration society since before this campaign even started. Trump doled out $1000 to Mulvaney’s campaign in 2014.
Perhaps the most telling quote is this one: “A lot of the stuff I want to accomplish would require Donald Trump winning the presidency.” It’s pretty obvious that main thing Mulvaney wants to accomplish is getting himself re-elected. It’s an open question as to whether the people of South Carolina will see his affection for Donald Trump as a help or a hindrance towards that goal.