Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday pressed former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to explain why he resigned from his role as U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland this week after the insurrection at the Capitol, after enabling Donald Trump throughout his presidency.
“After all of the controversial things Donald Trump did over the past four years, why was this week the final straw? Why now say that you can no longer be part of his administration?” Wallace asked on “Fox News Sunday.”
Mulvaney said he could defend “almost all” of the things Trump was criticized for, arguing that they were mostly policy and “stylistic” differences.
But “Wednesday was different, Wednesday was existential,” he said. “It was wrong. And I think it was important for those of us who used to be on the inner circle ... who was not a never Trumper to come out and say that.”
“You were chief of staff for more than a year. Do you feel any responsibility for enabling Donald Trump?” Wallace asked later in the interview.
“I feel a lot of emotions this week. I was shocked, I was angered, I was sad, I was angered, I was embarrassed, I was frustrated,” Mulvaney said, adding that he was still “trying to figure out what I could have done differently.”
He admitted that he was wrong to argue, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published six weeks ago, that Trump would concede gracefully. He said he really believed at the time that Trump would leave in a “presidential manner.”
Mulvaney then suggested to Wallace that Trump and his advisers had changed since he left the acting chief of staff position nine months ago.
“Mick, respectfully, there are people who say he isn’t different, this is the Donald Trump you worked for,” Wallace responded, before bringing up comments made by John Kelly, who preceded Mulvaney as chief of staff.
“Kelly says specifically that you and others didn’t have the spine to tell the president ‘no,’” he said.
Mulvaney disagreed and defended himself.
“We were very proud of the work that we were doing. Very proud of letting the president be the president because he was elected as the president,” he said. “But again, all of that changed on Wednesday and I don’t know why.”
Wallace went on to press Mulvaney for defending the president during other controversies. He noted that Trump was impeached for pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on his opponent, President-elect Joe Biden, while Mulvaney was chief of staff. He also asked why Mulvaney did not resign from his role as director of the Office of Management and Budget after Trump defended white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, or after the administration separated parents from children at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Chris, these are policy differences,” Mulvaney said. “These are things that you think the country should look one way, we think it should look another.”
“These are differences of style, the way the president speaks,” he added. “Did he misspeak at Charlottesville? Yes. Should he have corrected it? Yes. Did he handle it poorly? Yes. It’s not something people resign over.”
Watch the full interview on Fox News below: