Whether he’s a true believer or a true opportunist, Mick Mulvaney is intent on making Donald Trump as Trumpy as he wants to be. That means, according to an interview Mulvaney gave Politico, reshaping the communications team for “the boss” so they “spend a little more time being proactive, and a little less time being reactive.”
“We’ve got a great message to sell,” he said. “We want to talk about the economy. We want to talk about healthcare. We want to talk about trade, so if we can try to drive the narrative a little bit more, we think that would be a valuable improvement.” The problem with “we” talking about all that and trying to drive the narrative is that Trump and his itchy Twitter fingers is already ahead of them. They can only be reactive to what Trump says and does, and behind the story of Mulvaney saying he wants to get more messengers out there talking to the press, it really amounts to more Mulvaney and more Trump setting the message.
He’s keeping the communications team that exists now, including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, with whom he “enjoys a good relationship,” and “who remains one of the president’s closest confidants in the White House, according to three senior administration officials.” That doesn’t mean she’ll actually be doing her real job—they have no intention of reinstating regular press briefings. He also will not replace deputy chief of staff, Bill Shine who was brought in as director of the communications team. They apparently have decided five tries to have someone direct communications in just over two years was enough, with Sean Spicer, Mike Dubke, Anthony Scaramucci, and Hope Hicks preceding Shine in that job.
Mulvaney seems to be taking it on himself, as he’s done pretty much everything in the Trump administration. He’s consolidating his own power where Trump cares about it the most—his image—and where he’s going to let Trump have free rein. The more he lets Trump do whatever the hell he wants, the stronger Mulvaney’s own position is. The maniacs are definitely in charge now.