Trump

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney calls on a reporter during a White House briefing about a possible government shutdown, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman who has become a crucial part of the Trump administration, was named acting White House chief of staff late Friday.

The new role is Mulvaney's third since moving from Capitol Hill. He is the White House budget chief and served temporarily as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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

Mulvaney's appointment ends a week of heated speculation about who would succeed John Kelly as chief of staff after Trump announced over the weekend that he would leave at the end of the month. 

Names tossed around as successors to Kelly included former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Vice President Mike Pence chief of staff Nick Ayers, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.  

Mulvaney's name has surfaced previous times as chief of staff during Trump's tenure, but the president went in other directions until now. He will be Trump's third chief of staff. The White House did not say how long Mulvaney would serve as the president's top adviser.

"There’s no time limit. He’s the acting chief of staff, which means he’s the chief of staff," an unnamed senior administration official told reporters per a White House pool report. "He got picked because the president liked him. They get along." 

Mulvaney was tabbed for chief of staff because of his experience in Congress and is "fiscally responsible," the official said.

"Mick was over here today working on budget stuff," the official said. "They met face to face this afternoon."

Asked why Mulvaney was given the "acting" tag to his new job, the official said "because that’s what the president wants."

Mulvaney is being replaced as budget chief by his deputy Russell Voight.

Mulvaney worked in his family's Indian Land real estate business before running for the Statehouse in 2006.

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He was sent to Washington as part of the Tea Party wave of 2010, joining fellow S.C. Republicans Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan. Mulvaney was a deficit hawk when he represented the Charlotte suburbs in Congress. 

Mulvaney has become a team player for Trump, who backed massive tax cuts meant to spur business but have raised the national debt. He called the cuts "MAGAnomics" for the economic boost they are supposed to provide.

"I’m not the president, and I recognize that. I’m a member of a team," Mulvaney told The Post and Courier this summer. "But I have been able to participate in that process, and I’ve been satisfied that I am having an influence in the outcomes."

Mulvaney's promotion won applause from his former GOP colleagues on Capitol Hill.

"South Carolina continues to punch above our weight in Washington," U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-Myrtle Beach, tweeted Friday. "I know @MickMulvaneyOMB will do a great job advancing President Trump’s agenda!"

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, tweeted that he has confidence in Mulvaney: "Mick is a great combination of policy smarts and political savvy. Mick is very loyal to President Trump."

Mulvaney was part of a small group of South Carolina politicians and politicos to win jobs in the Trump administration, including Hogan Gidley, a former state GOP Party director who is the deputy White House press secretary, and former Gov. Nikki Haley, who is the United Nations ambassador. Haley is leaving that post at the end of the month to take a break after a decade in public office.

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Columbia Bureau Chief

Shain runs The Post and Courier's team based in South Carolina's capital city. He was editor of Free Times and has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Charlotte, Columbia and Myrtle Beach.