CNN anchor Jim Sciutto pressed former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to turn on President Donald Trump, but he only had one criticism to offer.
Sciutto listed a number of former Trump officials, many of them former military officers, who had made serious allegations against Trump and his administration after leaving their posts at the White House. He then turned to Mulvaney and asked whether his position was that all of them were lying. (RELATED: Obama Staffer Slams Mulvaney For Admitting ‘Quid Pro Quo’ — Then Concedes It Happens All The Time)
Sciutto framed the question by saying that former officials had painted a “consistent portrayal of this president,” listing everyone from former National Security Advisor John Bolton and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to former Defense Secretary James Mattis and former Chief of Staff John Kelly.
“[They said] this is a president who is unfit for the job and who consistently places his own political interests above the country’s interests,” Sciutto continued. “I’m asking you, and I know you’ll attack John Bolton, but are all of these people — who the president appointed to these positions, by the way, and who volunteered to take those positions, many of them have years of service in the military and elsewhere in government — are all of them liars when they say that this president is not up to the job?”
Mulvaney responded by saying that he couldn’t say they were lying because he couldn’t necessarily tell what they were thinking.
“I’m going to say they’re wrong,” Mulvaney replied. “And if there was one criticism that I would level against the president it’s he didn’t hire very well. He did not have experience at running government and didn’t know how to put together a team that could work well with him.”
Mulvaney went on to say that it seemed that military men didn’t make the best fit in the Trump administration, adding, “The military personality is not the type that works well with Donald Trump, who’s a small businessman who’s done extraordinarily well —”
“Rex Tillerson came from a massive oil company. Let’s be fair, it’s not all military men,” Sciutto interrupted.
“But if you go down the list between the other folks that you listed, many of them are, including Mr. Bolton,” Mulvaney continued. “But you have folks like Secretary Mnuchin and Secretary Pompeo, Kevin Hassett, one of the smartest people in the country, these are folks that know that the president can be successful at this job and don’t have any of the complaints or nearly the complaints —”
Sciutto then interjected that Bolton, whose imminent White House tell-all alleges that Pompeo did, in fact, criticize Trump but hadn’t done so publicly. Pompeo, upon viewing excerpts of the book, called Bolton “a traitor.”
“I’ve known Mike Pompeo a lot longer than John Bolton has, and Mike would have said something to me long before he said something to Bolton,” Mulvaney shot back. “And he’s never said an ill word about the President of the United States in private or in public.”
“Okay, Bolton has a different story, to be fair,” Sciutto replied as he closed out the interview.