Mulvaney is currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Trump has said he was talking to a number of candidates for the position, but a few of them took themselves out of the running. When Trump announced that Kelly would be departing at the end of the year, speculation was that his successor would be Nick Ayers, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence. But Ayers did not want to commit to the position through 2020.
Trump wrote on Twitter, “I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration. I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! John will be staying until the end of the year. He is a GREAT PATRIOT and I want to personally thank him for his service!”
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were also in consideration, but each issued statements saying they were no longer in the running for the job. Christie said on Friday that he told Trump “now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment.”
A senior administration official told reporters that there is no time limit on Mulvaney’s tenure, and that Trump liked the fact that Mulvaney is a former member of Congress. He represented a South Carolina congressional district from 2011 to 2017, when Trump tapped him to oversee the OMB. When reporters asked why Mulvaney was not named Trump’s permanent choice, the official said, “Because that’s what the president wants.”
In his tenure as budget director, Mulvaney has produced budgets that have proposed drastic cuts to discretionary spending, including the elimination of funding for public broadcasting and the arts and humanities. But those proposals have not gone far in Congress, which has left the funding in place.