Washington: US President Donald Trump has named his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as the new acting Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly who is leaving by the end of the year.
“I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction,” Trump announced in a series of tweets on Friday night.
“Mick has done an outstanding job while in the administration… I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to Make America Great Again!
“John will be staying until the end of the year. He is a great patriot and I want to personally thank him for his service!”
Mulvaney will not resign as Director of the Office of Management and Budget while he is acting White House Chief of Staff, CNN quoted White House press secretary Sarah Sanders as saying after Trump’s announcement.
OMB Deputy Director Russ Vought will handle day-to-day operations for the office, she added.
A senior administration told CNN that there was “no time limit” for Mulvaney to remain in the top White House post.
Mulvaney could lose the “acting” part of his title if things go well, according to the official.
The President’s decision to appoint Mulvaney as his chief of staff began to materialise around 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon, this official said.
Trump had been marinating on this idea throughout the day and ultimately decided to pull the trigger because the speculation and bowing out of candidates had begun to get out of hand.
Mulvaney, a conservative former South Carolina congressman, will be the third Chief of Staff in under two years to take on the task of running a White House besieged by a drumbeat of investigations and the expectation of more as Democrats take over the House of Representatives next month.
His elevation comes a week after Trump announced that Kelly was going to leave his post at the end of the year.
Mulvaney took to Twitter to celebrate the news, calling it “a tremendous honour”.
He previously represented South Carolina’s 5th District in the House of Representatives, where he rose to prominence as a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, a group of hardline conservatives.
After joining the Trump administration as OMB Director, he also soon took on the added job of acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in November 2017, a role he served in until just earlier this month.