President Trump reprimanded his new chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, over his “handling of shutdown talks, creating an awkward scene in front of congressional leaders of both parties,” reports Axios.
“If Dems weren’t OK with $5.7 [billion] and the president wasn’t OK with $1.3 [the Democratic offer] … he was trying to say we should find a middle ground,” Mulvaney said according to one source.
“Trump cut him off,” the source said. “You just f*cked it all up, Mick.”
“It was kind of weird,” the source added.
Another source told Axios that the president seemed irritated with Mulvaney.
“As a negotiator, Trump was resetting,” the source said. “Mick was not reading the room or the president.”
White House officials called the reported exchange “exaggerated” and alleged the two men “joked” about it after the fact.
A fourth source, who was not in the room but has observed Mulvaney and Trump’s interactions during previous congressional talks, told me Trump has long been irritated that Mulvaney’s initial 2019 budget only requested $1.6 billion for the wall. Democrats relish pointing this out, asking the White House why they’re not happy getting the money they originally asked for.