Bud­get head picked as chief of staff

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - World -

WASH­ING­TON — US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has picked bud­get di­rec­tor Mick Mul­vaney to be his act­ing chief of staff, end­ing a chaotic search in which sev­eral top con­tenders took them­selves out of the run­ning for the job.

“Mick has done an out­stand­ing job while in the Ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Trump tweeted on Fri­day. “I look for­ward to work­ing with him in this new ca­pac­ity as we con­tinue to MAKE AMER­ICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Trump added that his cur­rent chief of staff, John Kelly, will be stay­ing un­til the end of the year. “He is a GREAT PA­TRIOT and I want to per­son­ally thank him for his ser­vice!” Trump wrote.

Trump’s first pick for the job, Vi­cePres­i­dent Mike Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ay­ers, took him­self out of the run­ning last week­end and de­cided to leave the White House in­stead. The de­ci­sion caught the pres­i­dent and many se­nior staffers by sur­prise, and Trump soon found that oth­ers he con­sid­ered front-run­ners were not in­ter­ested in the job, in­clud­ing for­mer gover­nor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who ruled him­self out on Fri­day.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear why the pres­i­dent de­cided to make Mul­vaney’s ap­point­ment tem­po­rary. One se­nior White House of­fi­cial said there was no time limit on the ap­point­ment and Mul­vaney would fill the role of chief of staff in­def­i­nitely, re­gard­less of the “act­ing” ti­tle.

Mul­vaney and the pres­i­dent get along and the pres­i­dent likes him per­son­ally. Ad­di­tion­ally, Trump prized the for­mer con­gress­man’s knowl­edge of Capi­tol Hill and po­lit­i­cal in­stincts as the White House pre­pares for a Demo­cratic-con­trolled House and the pres­i­dent’s up­com­ing re-elec­tion cam­paign.

Mean­while, US In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke, fac­ing fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tions into his travel, po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and po­ten­tial con­flicts of in­ter­est, will be leav­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion at year’s end, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said on Satur­day.

In his res­ig­na­tion let­ter, Zinke said “vi­cious and po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated at­tacks” against him had “cre­ated an un­for­tu­nate dis­trac­tion” in ful­fill­ing the agency’s mis­sion.

Trump, in tweet­ing Zinke’s de­par­ture, said the for­mer Mon­tana con­gress­man “ac­com­plished much dur­ing his ten­ure” and that a re­place­ment would be an­nounced next week. The Cabi­net post re­quires Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

Zinke is leav­ing weeks be­fore Democrats take con­trol of the House, a shift in power that prom­ises to sharpen the probes into his con­duct.

The let­ter, dated on Satur­day, said Zinke’s last day would be Jan 2. It was not clear whether Zinke had al­ready sub­mit­ted the let­ter when Trump tweeted.

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