Trump Kicks His Chief of Staff out of the Oval Office for Coughing in His Presence

“You just can’t. You just can’t cough.”

Shawn Thew/ZUMA

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For all the anonymous, bruising leaks that have detailed palace intrigue inside the Trump White House, only a few moments have emerged on tape allowing the public to glimpse the administration’s chaos for themselves—and see that none of this is normal. 

Luckily, the latest installment of ABC’s headline-making interview with the president provides such a rare opportunity.

The moment came while Trump discussed the longstanding fight to release more information about his personal finances with George Stephanopoulos. He claimed he hoped a so-called “financial statement” will one day be publicly available because it is “fantastic.” Seconds later, he abruptly stops.

“Let’s do that over. He’s coughing in the middle of my answer,” the president said referring to his own chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

The ever-media minded president, who is a noted germaphobe and a former reality television star, continued: “I don’t like that, you know. I don’t like that.”

“If you’re going to cough, please leave the room. You just can’t. You just can’t cough,” Trump added, as microphones captured Mulvaney’s exit. “Boy, oh boy! Okay, do you want to do that a little differently then?” Trump asked the television crew.

The scolding is only the latest instance in the president’s long record of humiliating and undermining aides. Many of them have quickly found themselves discarded from his inner circle.

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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.

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