Does President Donald Trump know his administration thinks he’s gullible?
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, bragged that even though some of his ideological goals are different from Trump’s campaign promises, he can often manipulate the president into accepting them.
In fact, he has bluntly implied that Trump’s knowledge about many of the country’s policies is rudimentary at best and the budget director uses it to his advantage. However, the president is still unwilling to cross some of the “red lines.” Despite that, Mulvaney said he makes every attempt to bend the president to his will — and he often succeeds.
Case in point: the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The president’s proposed budget contained a lot of cuts to key projects that help Trump voters, like the Appalachian Regional Commission, which helps to slash high poverty rates in America by proving grants for infrastructure projects and among other things, “specifically targets communities affected by job losses in coal mining,” according to the Atlantic.
Mulvaney bragged that he was “able to convince” the president to slash the funds to the program.
“’Mr. President, this is not an efficient use of the taxpayer dollars,’” said Mulvaney of Trump. “’This is not the best way to help the people in West Virginia.’ He goes, ‘OK, that’s great. Is there a way to get those folks the money in a more efficient way?’ And the answer is yes.”
“My guess is he probably didn’t know what the Appalachian Regional Commission did,” Mulvaney added. “I was able to convince him.”
Now Mulvaney’s next target is cutting off funds to certain aspects of Social Security — which also includes the disability benefit program that the budget director dubbed as “permanent unemployment program.”
“I don’t think we’ve settled yet,” Mulvaney told Harwood. “But I continue to look forward to talking to the president about ways to fix that program. Because that is one of the fastest growing programs that we have. It’s become effectively a long-term unemployment, permanent unemployment program.”
When Mulvaney was asked whether the president was aware that some of his voters relied on these programs, he said that Trump was “certainly conscious of the people who voted for him” but if they “are hurt, that's not the issue.” He just wants to “get 3.5 percent economic growth.”