Who Will Be The First To Leave Trump’s Cabinet? – Forbes

Rep. Mick Mulvaney testifies at a Senate Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on Jan. 24, 2017. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), President Trump’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, will very likely be confirmed this week after the two committees with jurisdiction agreed last Thursday to send his nomination to the full Senate for a vote. In spite of an issue with his not paying taxes and apparent opposition from Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Mulvaney seems almost certain to get the 51 votes he’ll need to become budget director.

The question is how long he’ll last in that job.

Mulvaney’s positions on a variety of critical spending, tax and budget process issues are so different from Trump’s and so likely to get in the way of White House and congressional Republican plans that he could quickly find himself opposing what both Trump and the GOP majorities in Congress want to do.

That’s why it’s not hard to imagine Mulvaney quitting or Trump demanding his resignation shortly after he joins the administration.

There are two ways that, instead of being the first cabinet member to go, Mulvaney could wield enormous influence in the Trump administration.

The first is if Mulvaney abandons his previously inviolate positions on everything from higher deficits to increased military spending (see below) to support the Trump/congressional agenda. That would give those plans significant credibility and political cover with Mulvaney’s soon-to-be-former House Freedom Caucus colleagues. You can almost hear Trump saying to the HFC, “If it’s good enough for Mick…”

The second is if Mulvaney stays with his previous positions and successfully gets Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to do things differently than what they so far have said they want to do. While getting Trump et al. to moderate their spending and taxing plans would make Mulvaney a political pariah to some, it would also make him a hero to many others and would take away some of the “Republicans are fiscally irresponsible and unreliable” allegations that are already circulating.

Given the across-the-board intransigence Trump has shown so far, Ryan and McConnell probably not giving up their dreams any time soon and the strong chance that Mulvaney knew what he was signing up for when Trump nominated him, it’s far more likely he will go with the Trump flow and provide the cover House’s ultra conservatives need to approve proposals they would have never accepted from a Democratic president.

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