Monday, May 13, 2019

Mick Mulvaney and the Freedom Party are in the Oval Office and Taking Charge

Mick Mulvaney is of the same mindset as Steven Miller, but his portfolio as White House Chief of Staff (acting like many administration positions) is broader. And, like Miller, he perfectly plays to the President’s preoccupation with the preferences of and promises to the base. Mulvaney was first elected to Congress as part of the Tea Party in 2010 and is a founding member of the Freedom Caucus.

President Donald Trump and Mick Mulvaney | WSJ
So last week, when a decision on the 2019 legal and legislative health care strategy was under discussion, Mulvaney argued for shifting the administration’s legal position on the Appeals Court case, to arguing for the full unconstitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The President agreed. It was promised to the base and Congress can come up with a replacement as he argued during 2017 until the still denigrated John McCain voted down the effort.

Most Republican congressional leaders and political consultants believe that it’s a risky strategy, likely to only help Democrats. But, the Freedom Caucus, which has done so much to undermine Republican leadership, is highly supportive of killing Obamacare completely. After the firestorm of criticism and some behind-the-scene talks with Majority Leader McConnell, the President changed course. Another lesson on being cautious when listening to Mulvaney.

Mulvaney, when he first took over the Chief of Staff position in January, strongly supported the shutdown and the emergency declaration. He now is an advocate and spokesperson for shutting down the ports of entry between the U.S. and Mexico.

Mulvaney, like Trump, is focused on the base when much of the Republican Party is examining how to win back the House, hold the Senate, and expand Trump out of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to other potential swing states, including Colorado. Can the Republican Party be a national party if it is run by the Freedom Caucus?

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