(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump offered tepid support for Mick Mulvaney, days after the acting White House chief of staff made candid comments in the U.K. that broke with elements of the administration’s policies.
“Yeah, he’s here now, sure, no problem,” Trump told reporters outside the White House as he prepared to depart for India, when asked if he still had confidence in the former South Carolina congressman.
Mulvaney told a private gathering last week that the Trump administration “needs more immigrants” for the U.S. economy to grow, according to comments obtained by the Washington Post.
“We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants,” Mulvaney reportedly said.
Trump has sought to reduce both undocumented and legal immigration to the U.S., even as the unemployment rate plummets and some industries are having trouble finding qualified workers.
Mulvaney, who ran the White House budget office before taking the acting chief of staff role, also said in hour-long remarks at the Oxford Union that Republicans only care about government budget deficits when Democrats hold the White House, the Post reported.
“My party is very interested in deficits when there is a Democrat in the White House. The worst thing in the whole world is deficits when Barack Obama was the president. Then Donald Trump became president, and we’re a lot less interested,” Mulvaney said at the Oxford Union.
The annual federal deficit — almost $1 trillion in 2019 — was “extraordinarily disturbing,” Mulvaney said, according to the Post.
Trump has shown little of the traditional Republican concern about deficit spending. He dismissed concerns by some fiscal conservatives at a fundraiser in January in Florida.
“Who the hell cares about the budget?” Trump said at a closed-door fundraiser in Florida in January, according to a recording obtained by the Washington Post. “We’re going to have a country.”
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