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Mick Mulvaney’s biting comments about Trump resurface after he’s named acting White House chief of staff

Former South Carolina congressman called Trump “a terrible human being” during 2016 debate

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

WASHINGTON (CFP) — Just hours after President Donald Trump took to Twitter to name Mick Mulvaney acting White House chief of staff, a national news outlet resurrected a video from a 2016 congressional debate in South Carolina in which Mulvaney calls Trump “a terrible human being.”

The Daily Beast posted a short clip from video taken during a debate in York shortly before the 2016 election.

Mick Mulvaney at 2016 congressional debate (Photo from Daily Beast)

“Yes, I am supporting Donald Trump. I’m doing so as enthusiastically as I can despite the fact that I think he’s a terrible human being. But the choice on the other side is just as bad,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney’s comments were reported at the time of the debate by The State newspaper in Columbia. In that story, Mulvaney also called Trump and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, “perhaps two of the most flawed human beings running for president in the history of the country.”

The Daily Beast did not say where it obtained the video clip, which did not contain the rest of the debate.

Mulvaney’s comments in 2016 stand in contrast to his December 14  tweet after Trump installed him as chief of staff, albeit in an acting capacity.

“This is a tremendous honor,” he said. “I look forward to working with the President and the entire team. It’s going to be a great 2019!”

Neither the White House nor Trump have responded to the video. But a spokeswoman for Mulvaney called it “old news” and noted that Mulvaney had not yet met the president when he made those remarks.

Mulvaney, 51, represented South Carolina’s 5th District from 2011 until he was named by Trump as director of the Office of Management and Budget in 2017. The White House has said he will not give up the OMB job while serving temporarily as chief of staff.

Neither Trump nor the White House indicated how long Mulvaney might serve in the interim role.

Mulvaney will replace John Kelly, who Trump announced would be leaving the White House by the end of the year.

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President Donald Trump stumps for U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in Kentucky

President calls  Barr’s opponent in 6th U.S. House District an “extreme liberal” chosen by “Democrat mob”

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

RICHMOND, Kentucky (CFP) — President Donald Trump traveled to central Kentucky to excite his followers with a Make America Great Again rally in the commonwealth’s 6th U.S. House District, where Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr is in a political dogfight with his Democratic challenger, political newcomer Amy McGrath.

At an October 13 rally at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Trump said re-electing Barr “could make the difference between unbelievable continued success and frankly failure where we fight for two more years with these people, with these obstructionists.”

He also blasted McGrath as an “extreme liberal” who was “chosen by Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters — that’s a real beauty — and the radical Democrat mob.”

“Amy supports a socialist takeover of your health care,” he said. “She supports open borders. She needs the tax hikes to cover the through-the-roof garbage that you want no part of.”

For his part, Barr lauded the president, calling him “a man of action.”

“Other people resist, but this president gets results,” he said. “Mr. President, I’m with you to fight for the American people.”

In addition to Barr, the Richmond rally drew all three of Kentucky’s top elected Republicans, U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Governor Matt Bevin, who faces what is likely to be a touch battle for re-election in 2019.

In response to Trump’s characterizations of her, McGrath released a one-sentence statement to the media: “Mr. President, you clearly don’t know me. Yet.”

According to McGrath’s website, she supports reforms of the existing Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, rather than its repeal, which Barr has voted for. She also supports the so-called “public option,” a government-run health insurance agency to provide an option for people who cannot get access through the ACA.

McGrath opposes Trump’s plan to build a physical wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, which Barr also supports, and has also criticized the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents.

A day before Trump came to Richmond, former Vice President Joe Biden came to the district to campaign with McGrath.

McGrath, 43, who grew up in the Cincinnati suburbs of Northern Kentucky, is a retired Marine fighter pilot making her first bid for the political office against Barr in the 6th District, which includes Lexington, Frankfort, Richmond and adjacent portions of the Kentucky Bluegrass.

Barr, 45, has represented the 6th District since 2012. Prior to being elected to Congress, he was an attorney in Lexington.

McGrath has raised more than $3 million for the campaign, more than any other Democratic challenger in the South in 2018.

The race is rated as a toss-up by political analysts, although public polling has been sparse.

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U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will leave her post at the end of 2018

Former South Carolina governor says she has no plans to seek the White House in 2020

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

WASHINGTON (CFP) — In a move that caught Washington by surprise, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has announced that she will step down from her post at the end of the year.

The former South Carolina governor made the announcement at the White House October 9 sitting next to the man who appointed her, President Donald Trump, who told reporters that Haley has “done an incredible job.”

“Hopefully you’ll be coming back at some point … maybe a different capacity,” Trump said.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announces her departure with President Trump at the White House October 9 (Courtesy White House pool)

Haley, who had been a vocal critic of Trump during the 2016 campaign before signing on to serve in his Cabinet, made it clear that her departure has nothing to do with any future political plans.

“No, I’m not running for 2020,” she said. “I can promise you what I’ll be doing is campaigning for this one,” pointing to Trump.

Haley said that after six years as governor and two years in the U.N. post, she wanted to leave government service and return to private life, although she did not announce any specific plans.

“I think you have to be selfless enough to know when you step aside and allow someone else to do the job,” she said.

Haley also defended Trump’s approach to foreign policy, which has frequently been disquieting to some of America’s traditional allies.

“Now, the United States is respected,” she said. “Other countries may not like what we do, but they respect what we do.”

Haley, 46, the daughter of Sikh immigrants from India, had no foreign policy experience when she was tapped for the U.N. post. She is the only woman in a senior-level Cabinet post and the last survivor of Trump’s original foreign policy team, which has featured two different secretaries of state and three national security advisers.

During the 2016 campaign, Haley supported two of Trump’s rivals after urging Americans to resist the temptation “to follow the siren call of the angriest voices,” in what was widely seen as a thinly veiled rebuke of Trump.

She never never explicitly endorsed Trump during the campaign, although she did tell reporters at the Republican National Convention in July that she intended to vote for her party’s nominee.

However, since her elevation to the Cabinet, she has defended the president, most recently by criticizing the author of an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times who described an internal resistance movement within the White House.

“I don’t agree with the president on everything. When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it,” Haley said. “I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person.”

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Trump nominates Florida law school dean Alex Acosta as labor secretary

Acosta selected after Trump’s first nominee for labor post, Andrew Puzder, pulled out

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

florida mugWASHINGTON (CFP) — Alex Acosta, the dean of Florida International University’s law school and a former federal prosecutor in Miami, has been named by President Donald Trump to be the nation’s next labor secretary.

FIU Dean Alex Acosta

FIU Law Dean Alex Acosta

The selection of Acosta to head the U.S. Department of Labor came a day after Trump’s first pick for the post, fast food magnate Andrew Puzder, withdrew from consideration after it became clear that he lacked enough votes for Senate confirmation.

Trump made the announcement February 16 during a media appearance at the White House, which Acosta did not attend.

“I think he’ll be a tremendous secretary of labor,” Trump said, after briefly ticking off items from Acosta’s resume, including the fact that he had already been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to three executive department posts.

If confirmed, Acosta will be the first, and so far only, Latino in the Trump cabinet.

Acosta, 48, a Cuban-American, has been dean at FIU’s law school since 2009. From 2005 to 2009, he served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, which comprises nine counties in the southeastern part of the state.

From 2003 to 2005, Acosta headed up the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in Washington, the first Latino to serve in that position. From 2002 to 2003, he was a member of the National Labor Relations Board.

Acosta was also a law clerk to now-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito from 1994 to 1995, when Alito was serving on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

His two positions in the Justice Department and his stint at the NLRB all required Senate confirmation. One of the senators who will decide on Acosta’s nomination for the labor post, Florida’s Marco Rubio said he was “a phenomenal choice” and predicted he would be approved.

“I look forward to his confirmation hearing, where I’m confident he will impress my colleagues and secure the support necessary to be the next secretary of labor,” Rubio said in a statement.

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue picked as Trump’s agriculture chief

Perdue advised Trump on agricultural issues during presidential campaign

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

georgia mugWASHINGTON (CFP) — Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, a veterinarian by training who grew up on a family farm, has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to be the nation’s next agriculture secretary.

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue

The selection of Perdue, announced a day before Trump’s inauguration on January 19, rounds out the new president’s cabinet.

“From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, (Perdue) has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face,” Trump said in a statement announcing Perdue’s selection. “He is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”

In the same statement, Perdue said “making sure Americans who make their livelihood in the agriculture industry are thriving is near and dear to my heart.”

“I’m going to champion the concerns of American agriculture and work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families in this new role,” he said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Purdue will oversee the sprawling U.S. Department of Agriculture, with more than 100,000 employees and a $140 billion budget. In addition to farm programs, the department also oversees food safety, national forests and the food stamp program that provides nutritional assistance to more than 40 million low-income Americans.

Perdue’s selection will present an unusual wrinkle in the Senate confirmation process, as one of the senators who will consider his nomination, U.S. Senator David Perdue, is Sonny Perdue’s first cousin.

Perdue, 70, served two terms as Georgia governor. His election in 2002 marked the first time a Republican had won the state’s chief executive post since Reconstruction, ending 130 years of Democratic dominance.

Perdue grew up on a farm in Houston County in central Georgia. During the presidential campaign, he had been a member of Trump’s agricultural advisory council.

13 Southern U.S. House Democrats bow out of Trump inaugural

All of the no-shows represent districts carried by Hillary Clinton

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

southern states smWASHINGTON (CFP) — Thirteen of the 40 Southern Democrats in the U.S. House have announced that they will not take part in the January 20 inauguration of Donald Trump.

Lawmakers from Florida, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia are among the no-shows. All of the boycotting members represent urban or black-majority districts that were carried by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s tweets castigating U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, for announcing an inauguration boycott seemed to particularly rankle some of the members opting not to attend; Trump’s reaction was called “repugnant,” “ignorant,” and “insensitive and foolish.”

“We are sending a message to Mr. Trump. Respect, like Pennsylvania Avenue, is a two-way street,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, who will be among the no-shows.

However, none of the three other Democrats in Lewis’s own Georgia delegation have joined the boycott. Also not joining so far is U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who, as head of the Democratic National Committee during the presidential campaign, had been a sharp Trump critic.

As for the contention by Trump supporters that the inauguration is a celebration not of him but of the peaceful transfer of power, U.S. Rep. Julian Castro, D-Texas, said, “Every American should respect the office of the presidency and the fact that Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. But winning an election does not mean a man can show contempt for millions of Americans and then expect those very people to celebrate him.”

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia, said Trump’s “behavior and harmful words during and after the campaign have left the country I love with open, bleeding wounds. Instead of binding those wounds, he has poured salt on them. Instead of unifying us, he has reveled in driving wedges between us.”

Trump won 108 of the 154 congressional districts across the South in the November election; none of them are represented by Democrats.

Lawmakers boycotting the inaugural are unlikely to pay a political price, as all but two of them represent districts that Clinton carried with at least 60 percent of the vote. However, U.S. Reps. Darren Soto, D-Florida, and John Yarmuth, D-Kentucky, come from districts where Clinton’s share was just 55 percent.

The list of boycotting Democrats includes:

Georgia

Florida

Kentucky

Mississippi

North Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

Virginia

Electoral College: Despite protests, Southern electors stick with Trump

Trump carried 165 of the region’s 180 votes; two ‘faithless’ electors in Texas vote for Kasich, Ron Paul

♦By Rich Shumate, Chicken Fried Politics.com editor

southern states sm(CFP) — Members of the Electoral College have met at 14 Southern statehouses and, as expected, gave the overwhelming majority of the region’s electoral votes to President-elect Donald Trump, ignoring calls by anti-Trump protestors to stop his elevation to the nation’s highest office.

Candidate Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Trump carried 165 of the South’s 180 electoral votes in the December 19 vote. Hillary Clinton won the 13 electoral votes from Virginia, which was the only Southern state she carried.

The only place where Republican electors broke ranks was in Texas, where the defections of two Republican electors did not stop Trump from securing the 270 votes he needed to win the White House.

Chris Suprun, a Dallas paramedic who had previously announced he would not vote for Trump, cast his ballot for Ohio Governor John Kasich. Elector Bill Greene, who represented the 34th District, which takes in the Gulf Coast between Brownsville and Corpus Christi, voted for former Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

Afterward, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted his support for a bill that would preclude so-called “faithless” electors by requiring them to vote for the candidate who carried the state on election day, in this case, Trump.

“This charade is over.,” Abbot said. “A bill is already filed to make these commitments binding. I look forward to signing it & ending this circus.

Twenty-nine states have laws binding electors to the popular vote winner in their states, including the Southern states of Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Currently in Texas, state law doesn’t bind electors, although the Texas GOP required them to take an oath pledging to vote for the popular vote winner.

The Electoral College vote is usually a formality to which scant public attention is paid. However, Trump’s surprise win on November 8, coupled with his loss to Clinton by more than 2.8 million votes in the popular vote, galvanized anti-Trump protests at state capitols around the country.

Small groups of protestors gathered in Tallahassee, Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh, Austin, Oklahoma City and Montgomery.

In Austin, shouts from protestors were audible inside the State House chamber where electors met, according to local media reports.

In Little Rock, anti-Trump activists took many of the seats in the old Supreme Court chamber in the State Capitol, where the vote took place. According to local media reports, one protestor was removed, although the electors also chatted amiably with the demonstrators before the vote took place.

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