US President Donald Trump has refuted previous reports that he was considering replacing his acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney with other candidates, including Kellyanne Conway and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, by calling these accounts “wrong” and “fake news” on his Twitter.
Wrong, never even discussed this with Kellyanne Conway or Steve Mnuchin. Just more Fake News! https://t.co/bgR8TnytjJ— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Conway, Mnuchin, as well as White House Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Liddell, could be among Mulvaney’s potential replacements following several fiascos by the chief of staff in dealing with the press, particularly in relation to his handling of an impeachment inquiry. Similar reports also appeared on CNN on Sunday, claiming that Mulvaney’s standing in the office was on shaky ground, though no names of potential candidates for his position were mentioned at the time.
Bloomberg claimed that the US president made several remarks to his advisors about Mulvaney's possible replacement by other prominent White House staffers, including Kellyanne Conway, one of the president’s advisers who was previously accused of being two-faced toward Trump and also involved in a number of “leaking” scandals.
Last week, Mulvaney publically admitted, although then denied, that the Trump administration’s decision to withhold aid to Ukraine was a quid pro quo move in demand for an investigation into Ukraine’s potential involvement in the hacking of the Democratic Party server during the 2016 elections. The remarks came in the midst of an ongoing impeachment inquiry against the US president launched by House Democrats, following a whistleblower complaint about Trump’s alleged abuse of power to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating rival presidential candidate Joe Biden’s involvement in Ukraine’s internal affairs. Donald Trump strongly denied the claims, while the Ukrainian president said that he had not been pressured into anything by the US president.
Mulvaney has never been given the formal title of Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff since John Kelly's departure in January 2019, filling the role only in an "acting" capacity, sparking more speculations about the vulnerability of his position in the office. There were reports that during last cabinet meeting Trump even refused to respond to questions about Mulvaney’s possible ouster.
Earlier responding to a CNN request to comment on the issue, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said that Mike Mulvaney's "standing in the White House has not changed" and "he is still the acting chief of staff and has the President's confidence".