Mulvaney says he’s not being considered to replace Kelly

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says he’s not being considered to replace John Kelly as White House chief of staff, despite reports that Kelly is under fire within the West Wing for his response to allegations of domestic abuse against a former White House aide.

“(T)he West Wing continues to function. It functions well,” Mulvaney told CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday morning. “I hear that I’m being considered, in the media at least, for replacing the chief of staff. You think that maybe someone would have mentioned it to me. No one’s talked to me at all. Not a single time.”

Kelly became the subject of scrutiny after allegations of domestic abuse against White House staff secretary Porter first came to light last Tuesday. Porter resigned from his role at the White House shortly after and has called the allegations “outrageous” and “simply false.”

Porter’s ex-wives detailed the allegations to the FBI over the course of a routine background check, they told CNN. By early fall of 2017, it was widely known among Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff John Kelly — that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining his security clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. No action was taken to remove him from the staff, and instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter’s standing.

Conversations have been going on last week among White House staffers as to what a “post-Kelly world looks like,” a source familiar with these discussions said, with Mulvaney seen as a leading contender to eventually replace Kelly.

Mulvaney said Porter “wasn’t entirely forthcoming” with Kelly when the allegations were brought forward.

“I think the photographs took everybody by surprise,” Mulvaney said, referencing a photo of one of Porter’s ex-wives with a black eye.

Mulvaney, who also serves as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said he doesn’t want Kelly’s job.

“I love the job — jobs — that I have now. And more importantly, I think the chief of staff is doing a really good job,” Mulvaney said.