The establishment media and Democrats are maligning Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney by selectively editing a long speech he gave to bankers this week.
Mulvaney advised the bankers to talk to congressmen in their districts, noting that constituents telling their representatives what matters to them is the most effective way to enact change. While making this point, Mulvaney brought up the hierarchy he implemented in his own former congressional office: constituents, lobbyists who donate and then lobbyists who don’t donate.
“If you were a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you,” he said. “If you were a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you. If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I talk to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions.”
“People coming from back home, to tell people in Congress what issues are important to them, is one of the fundamental underpinnings of our democracy, and you have to continue to do it,” Mulvaney added.
The media immediately honed in on Mulvaney’s admission that lobbyists who donate get better access than lobbyists who don’t – which everyone in Washington openly acknowledges – and completely ignored his assertion that constituents still get the most access.
The New York Times tweeted out the first half of Mulvaney’s quote but declined to include the part about people “from back home” being talked to “without exception.”
Mick Mulvaney: “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.” https://t.co/mYIU7L120j
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 25, 2018
CNN’s Alisyn Camerota repeated the shortened quote on air with Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Sen. Bernie Sanders jumped on the incomplete quote, insisting that Mulvaney does not represent “ordinary Americans,” only the “rich and powerful.”
Mick Mulvaney tells us everything we need to know about how Washington works, and why wealthy special interests make billions in campaign contributions. Government should be about representing ordinary Americans, not just the rich and the powerful. pic.twitter.com/Y5HKnlW0Wi
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 25, 2018
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown took his criticism a step further and said that Mulvaney should resign for his comments, while a verified financial reform advocate claimed Mulvaney said “he’d only meet with people who gave his campaign money.”
Senator Sherrod Brown is calling on Mick Mulvaney to resign, after Mulvaney told a room full of bankers that, as a Congressman, he’d only meet with people who gave his campaign money: https://t.co/HZIjDWIOaX
— Alexis Goldstein (@alexisgoldstein) April 25, 2018
— Adam Smith (@asmith83) April 25, 2018
Matt O’Brien, a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote “Mulvaney told banking lobbyists that they should increase their donations to politicians because that’s how they get what they want,” despite the fact that Mulvaney’s full comments clearly tell them to put their representatives first.
WOW: CFPB chief Mick Mulvaney told banking lobbyists that they should increase their donations to politicians, because that’s how to get what they want https://t.co/0dJ7AqmQF9 pic.twitter.com/kAv362yDdc
— Matt O’Brien (@ObsoleteDogma) April 25, 2018
This is supposed to be a government by the people, for the people. Not a government of the thieves and the money changers. Mick Mulvaney is a disgrace. https://t.co/0RyViQLXwM
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) April 25, 2018
“We got to keep calling these guys out… We’ve got to call them out on it every single time. This is what elections are about.”
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 26, 2018
MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews falsely claimed that Mulvaney “only had meetings with those who gave him campaign money and refused admission to those who didn’t.”
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 26, 2018
Mick Mulvaney just confirmed Americans’ worst beliefs about Washington: Politicians have rigged the system so people who write the biggest checks have the biggest say.
It’s time we throw those corrupt politicians out of office and unrig the system. https://t.co/XshYW6azVN
— End Citizens United (@StopBigMoney) April 25, 2018
Fox News was one of very few media outlets who gave the full context surrounding Mulvaney’s quotes and even included an explanation from his office.
“[His staffers] insist that the comments from his speech were taken totally out of context,” John Roberts reported. “What he was doing, he was praising a group of constituents, in this case local bankers and pay-day lenders, saying it’s important for you to come to Washington, go bang on doors on Capitol Hill and speak to your representatives directly.”
“The message I’m told he was delivering was that lobbying contributions mean nothing compared to seeing somebody from back home — it was not about giving money for access,” Roberts added. “Clearly he could have said it a different way.”