Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is “on the rise” within the White House, according to a report by Politico on Tuesday.
“When thinking about up and comers in the administration, think less about Gary Cohn, a New York City Democrat, and more about Mulvaney.”
Recent reports that Gary Cohn, the former President of Goldman Sachs, was gaining clout in the White House, concerned many conservatives. Cohn, who is close to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, has had a tenuous relationship with former Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon, who is rumored to have been sidelined in recent weeks. Cohn is widely regarded as a centrist establishment figure, while Bannon is seen as more in line with Trump’s grassroots base.
If Bannon’s stature continues to fade, Mulvaney could provide an important anti-establishment counterweight to Cohn within Trump’s inner circle, especially given Cohn is now reportedly pushing policies such as a carbon tax and revenue neutral tax reform that are in direct contradiction to the will of the Republican electorate, and the administration is already said to have scrapped the Trump campaign tax plan.
The report notes that Mulvaney shares the President’s passion for golf and has a “single-digit handicap,” which could explain why Trump has found him so endearing.
Mulvaney previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was a member of the Freedom Caucus and the Liberty Caucus. He was a strong supporter of Senator Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential bid, and joined Paul and Trump for discussions about healthcare over a game of golf two weeks ago. While in Congress, Mulvaney often expressed libertarian views on a number of issues, including bitcoin, military spending and marijuana, and described himself as a “libertarian-leaning conservative.”
In 2012, Mulvaney told The Hill that “many of us, myself included, got into politics because we were appalled at the Bush record on spending.” While it remains to be seen whether the Trump administration will represent a substantial improvement in that regard, Mulvaney’s growing influence should be cause for optimism among libertarians and other believers in limited government.