Why anyone in their right mind would want to serve as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff is beyond me: As far as I can tell, the position essentially entails getting yelled at by the president until you finally slink back into the conservative bog that offers you the most money. And, true to form, Trump is reportedly already getting fed up with Mick Mulvaney, his third chief of staff in only two-and-a-half years.
Citing “four current and former senior administration officials,” Politico reported on Tuesday that the president “has been snapping at his acting chief of staff with some frequency, and expressing greater frustration with him than usual,” which is probably a bad sign for someone who isn’t even officially in the job.
Not that Mulvaney is actually in any real danger of being actively ousted by Trump anytime soon. As Politico’s sources note, the president isn’t eager to slog through the process of hiring a fourth chief of staff—especially after multiple people very publicly turned him down for the position last time around. (I have contacted the White House for comment and will update if I hear back.)
Still, Trump’s increasing animosity toward what should ostensibly be his top and most trusted lieutenant has been on bizarre display in recent months, with the president reportedly lashing out at Mulvaney for having “fucked up” negotiations over funding his proposed border wall with Mexico, and upbraiding Mulvaney for having the unmitigated gall to cough in his presence during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
So, if Trump is as annoyed with Mulvaney as he seems to be, but doesn’t want to actually fire him, the question now becomes one of whether Mulvaney will take the president’s the not-so-subtle hints and retire, of if he’s happy being Trump’s whipping boy if it means he can continue grasping at the power to ruin people’s lives for a little while longer.