Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday said he has “absolutely not” been approached about replacing John Kelly as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.
“I think all the stories about replacing Gen. Kelly are from people who are unhappy they’ve lost access to the president,” Mulvaney told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
“It’s much ado about nothing,” Mulvaney said.
Kelly has most recently faced backlash after revelations that he failed to remove Rob Porter, an aide accused of domestic abuse, until the news about Porter was reported in the press.
Mulvaney said it was a “very human reaction” for Trump and Kelly to initially give Porter the benefit of the doubt.
“As soon as Rob Porter was proven wrong, it was proven he was not telling the truth when the photos came out on Wednesday, he was gone almost immediately,” he said. Photographs were published of one of Porter’s ex-wives with a bruised eye.
Mulvaney also suggested that Trump’s tweet on Saturday, in which the president said, “Lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” was actually a reference to businessman and former RNC finance chairman Steve Wynn. The casino magnate resigned from the RNC on Jan. 27 after harassment allegations against him were reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Wynn “has been accused and has been condemned without any due process,” Mulvaney said.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Trump adviser Kellyane Conway said the president has “full confidence” in Kelly.
“I spoke with the president last night about this very issue,” she said, “and he wanted me to reemphasize to everyone, including this morning, that he has full confidence in his current Chief of Staff General John Kelly, and that he is not actively searching for replacements.”
She also said the allegations about Porter were startling.
“This is not the Rob Porter any of us have worked with,” she said, adding: “We are a nation of laws, we are a nation of due process, and all sides should be heard out. But you also can’t ignore what you see in front of you.”