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Wall Street May Like Mulvaney, But Probes, Politics Will Likely Top Agenda

Wall Street May Like Mulvaney, But Probes, Politics Will Likely Top Agenda

Mick Mulvaney is moving from running a banking regulatory agency he hates and once hoped to see killed to serving as chief of staff for a president he once called a “terrible human being.”

Mulvaney, a Republican former congressman from South Carolina, was seen by some on Wall Street as an ally because he shares a long-running dislike of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which he was selected to lead on an acting basis in late 2017.

Mulvaney, a budget hawk in Congress, was tapped late Friday by President Donald Trump to serve as acting White House chief of staff. He’ll take over for John Kelly, who steps down at the end of the year.

Mulvaney, 51, has been serving as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and acting head of CFPB, which he once called "a joke."

Investigations Loom Over Oval Office

Mulvaney's anatagonism made him a hero to some in the financial industry. At the CFPB, he cut spending and froze data collection, comforting the industry with less aggression in investigative efforts. Height Financial Services analyst Edwin Groshans, for example, said last year that the CFPB was “kindler and gentler” under Mulvaney.

While some on Wall Street may appreciate that, it’s a good bet any “agenda” Mulvaney may have for steering fiscal policy will be overshadowed by the difficulties the administration is likely to face in the coming year.

Mulvaney’s time will likely be taken up with ongoing investigations of Trump by special counsel Robert Mueller and the spectre of an investigation-minded Democratic majority in the House.

Defending the president and trying to lay the groundwork for a 2020 re-election campaign will probably be at the top of Mulvaney’s to-do list and may leave time for little else.

Working For 'A Terrible Human Being'

Mulvaney will technically remain as director of the OMB, though Deputy Director Russ Vought will run the budget office day-to-day. Mulvaney’s appointment as chief of staff is for an indefinite period, but several news organizations said White House insiders believe Mulvaney could take the job on a permanent basis if all goes well.

“I look forward to working with the President and the entire team,” Mulvaney tweeted Friday after his appointment. “It’s going to be a great 2019!”

But an awkward video surfaced late last week of Mulvaney calling Trump “a terrible human being” while running for re-election to Congress in 2016. The remarks, reported at the time by The Herald newspaper in South Carolina, came during a small candidate forum.

The video was posted Friday by The Daily Beast. An Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman dismissed the video in comments to CNN, saying the remarks were made during a campaign and at a time when Mulvaney had yet to meet Trump.

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Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia.


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