Mick Mulvaney Is a Rat Jumping Ship

“I can’t stay,” he said in a tortured performance crying for self-pity.

Kevin Dietsch/ZUMA

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Mick Mulvaney has seen enough.

The former White House chief of staff, who was humiliated and fired in April only to stick around to serve the administration as a special envoy to Northern Ireland, has resigned. “I can’t stay here,” Mulvaney told CNBC in a video call, lamenting the pro-Trump insurrectionists who breached the Capitol on Wednesday, “not after yesterday.”
 
“You can’t look at yesterday and think ‘I want to be part of that’ in any way, shape or form,” he said. 
 
But Mulvaney has looked at that kind of thing before, and apparently decided he was OK with being a part of it. In fact, he’s had a front-row, courtside seat to bear witness to the exact blend of violence, white nationalism, and chaos that unfolded yesterday. While he says yesterday it was enough to cause him to rise up and disavow this White House, that noxious brew showed up at every pro-Trump rally—rallies Mulvaney himself attended—urged on by countless acts of incitement from the boss. It was present in every violent protest and social media platform teeming with far-right, extremist fantasies that turned into reality yesterday. Even after getting unceremoniously replaced, Mulvaney clung to the administration. Apparently eager to serve Trump in any way, shape or form, he agreed to take a post focused on the other side of the Atlantic—a job I honestly had forgotten he held until his resignation this morning.
 
Mulvaney isn’t alone among Trump officials suddenly making a public gesture of morality. A string of such officials, including Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, have announced that they’re out.
 
But Grisham didn’t cry out for self-pity like our man Mulvaney. “It has been an honor to serve the country in the White House,” she said in a statement to CNN. “I am very proud to have been a part of Mrs. Trump’s mission to help children everywhere and proud of the many accomplishments of this Administration.” Here, Grisham is seemingly attempting to have it both ways: adding her name to a growing list that could no longer be associated with the stunning images from yesterday, but still bragging of being “very proud” to have served in the same White House that directly fueled those images. 
 
As retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman told Anderson Cooper Thursday, some of those who have stepped down in the wake of Wednesday’s riot are legitimately conflicted. “I would encourage folks to really consider whether they want to stay on for the last two weeks, I had my own struggles trying to determine whether I wanted to stay on,” Vindman said, referring to his decision to remain a part of the National Security Council staff after he testified in Trump’s impeachment trial.
 
That said, rats who are simply abandoning the sinking ship haven’t earned the right not to be judged for their role in plotting and maintaining its course. Folks like Mulvaney and Grisham, enablers and loyalists, own this too. It’s going to take a lot more than the performance we saw from Mulvaney this morning to forget his steadfast work for a presidential terrorist.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate