Trump officials who backed him for years are only now jumping ship


Mick Mulvaney claimed Trump has 'changed' in the past eight months. Five months ago, he called working for Trump a 'tremendous experience.'

On Thursday, Donald Trump's former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney took to CNBC to announce his resignation as special U.S. envoy to Ireland — one of the latest in a line of Trump officials resigning their posts after violence shook the Capitol Wednesday.

The flurry of resignations occurs just two weeks before the end of Trump's first and only term in office. It remains unclear why officials are choosing to resign now after supporting the White House occupant and serving in his administration for years.

"I can't do it. I can't stay," Mulvaney told CNBC Thursday morning.

"It's a nothing thing," he added. "It doesn't affect the outcome. It doesn't affect the transition. But it's what I've got, right, and it's a position I really enjoy doing. But you can't do it. And I wouldn't be surprised to see more of my friends resign over the course of the next 24 to 48 hours."

But in the same breath, Mulvaney defended Trump, saying he "was not the same as he was eight months ago," and that administration officials "didn't sign up for" the deadly carnage at the Capitol Wednesday that occurred when armed Trump supporters stormed the building.

One woman was shot and three died in medical emergencies during the raid on the Capitol, according to various media reports.

"We didn't sign up for what you saw last night. We signed up for making America great again, we signed up for lower taxes and less regulation," Mulvaney told CNBC. "The president has a long list of successes that we can be proud of ... But all of that went away yesterday, and I think you're right to ask the question as to 'how did it happen?'"

Elaine Chao, who has served as Trump's secretary of transportation since the beginning of his administration, is also resigning. Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Numerous other Trump officials have either resigned or are reportedly considering resigning in the wake of Wednesday's violence.

According to Reuters, an administration official told the outlet that national security adviser Robert O'Brien was considering stepping down from his position. Deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger resigned Wednesday afternoon.

According to CNN, Pottinger's resignation was "in response to Trump's reaction to a mob of his supporters breaching the US Capitol."

Sources also told CNN that deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell was also considering resigning.

According to the outlet, first lady Melania Trump's chief of staff Stephanie Grisham and White House social secretary Rickie Niceta also submitted their resignations, "effective immediately," on Wednesday afternoon.

The CNN report notes that the two "were among the longest-serving Trump administration officials."

Shortly after Grisham's resignation, deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews also resigned.

“I was honored to serve in the Trump administration and proud of the policies we enacted. As someone who worked in the halls of Congress I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today," she wrote in a statement. "I’ll be stepping down from my role, effective immediately. Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power."

But many of these officials have served for years in the Trump administration with nary a word of criticism for his more inflammatory rhetoric or policies.

Mulvaney, for instance, served in the Trump administration since the beginning, first as director of the Office of Management and Budget from February 2017 until March 2020, and as acting White House chief of staff from January 2019 until March 2020.

Despite his claims that Trump has "changed" in the past eight months, Mulvaney as recently as August said that working for Trump was a "tremendous experience" — and bragged that Trump gave him free lifetime membership at all 19 of Trump's golf courses worldwide.

Updated to include details of Elaine Chao's resignation.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.