Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), an establishment stalwart, reportedly described White House Budget Director and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney as “dangerous”, according to a New York Times report on Friday.
The remarks came during a check-in session briefing members of Congress on the status of budget negotiations. Shelby, an architect of the bi-partisan deal to end the partial government shutdown, accused Mulvaney of being behind President Donald Trump’s sudden turn against the deal, after initially backing it.
He was not the only critic of Mulvaney among the Republican establishment. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) accused Mulvaney of being “giddy and enthusiastic” about the shutdown during the latter’s appearances on Sunday talk shows.
Ultimately, McConnell called Trump directly on the matter, and a compromise was struck where Trump would sign the deal into law, but announce a state of emergency in order to divert additional funds to the wall, a key demand by the President.
Although Mulvaney was intimately involved in the negotiations, he was reportedly a strong skeptic of the ultimate deal. As a member of Congress, he was a leading figure within the fiscally conservative Freedom Caucus, and often described himself as a libertarian-leaning conservative. The deal included a vast amount of spending, and it was clearly stated in the legislation that the border security funds it included may not be used for the purpose of wall construction.