Mulvaney out, Meadows in as Trump’s chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump named U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., as his new chief of staff Friday evening, ousting Mick Mulvaney, who never had received the full title anyway.

The embattled Mulvaney, who had been acting chief of staff for more than a year, will become the U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland. Mulvaney also has been serving in Trump’s Cabinet as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Meadows, who had announced that he was not seeking re-election, had become a staunch defender of Trump during his recent impeachment hearings and trial, in which the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate acquitted the president.

The president announced Meadows’ elevation and Mulvaney’s demotion via Twitter, as he is wont to do. His announcement did not include the “acting” label before the title, which officially is assistant to the president and chief of staff.

Mulvaney sparked the president’s ire, most notably in October, when he convened a rare White House news briefing to announce that Trump planned to host the Group of 7 conference of world leaders at his resort in South Florida this year. He dismissed complaints that Trump would profit from hosting the convention at the Doral Resort, but then uttered a snarky remark that some said jeopardized Trump’s defense against the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry.

Mulvaney acknowledged that Trump had held up nearly $400 million in aid to Ukrain that Congress had approved until President Volodymyr Zelensky  temporarily — until Zelensky met Trump’s conditions, which included announcing that he was investigating former Vice President John Biden and his son Hunter to influence the 2020 election. That move was widely considered a quid pro quo.

“I have news for everybody: Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy,” Mulvaney said, in effect, negating Trump’s claim that there was no quid pro quo.

Before working for Trump, Mulvaney was a South Carolina congressman who rose to fame in the conservative tea party movement.

During the 2016 election campaign, Mulvaney lambasted Trump as a “terrible human being” after the “Access Hollywood” tape was released, with Trump speaking crudely about sexually assaulting women.

Meadows spurned an offer to become chief of staff last year just before Mulvaney’s appointment was revealed.

Meadows becomes the fourth chief of staff Trump has had since he became president. The others were Marine Gen. John Kelly, who previously had been secretary of Homeland Security, and Reince Priebus, who had been chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2011 to 2017. Priebus was chief of staff from Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, until his ouster on July 31, 2017. So far, Kelly has had the longest tenure in the hot seat, from July 31, 2017, to Jan. 2, 2019.