Though “Get over it” seems to be the Trump administration’s response whenever they’ve been caught in a lie, called out on wrongdoing, or…caught placing the country at risk, Mick Mulvaney may have been the first to say the actual words out loud and in public.
During an October 17 press conference, Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff, admitted that Trump used U.S. Congress-appropriated military aid as leverage to further his personal political agenda. Trump, he said, withheld the aid, badly needed by Ukraine to resist Russian aggression, in order to pressure Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a conspiracy theory about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 election. A quid pro quo, in other words.
“We do that all the time with foreign policy,” said Mulvaney. “I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.”
The Department of Justice, however, distanced itself from Mulvaney’s claims that Trump had its blessing for this particular “foreign policy” exchange.
“If the White House was withholding aid in regards to the cooperation of any investigation at the Department of Justice, that is news to us,” a DOJ official told the Washington Examiner.
Others, too, including some GOP lawmakers, were aghast at Mulvaney’s admission.
“Totally inexplicable,” said one, who requested anonymity. “He literally said the thing the president and everyone else said did not happen.”
After you’ve denied a whistleblower’s allegations, what else can you do, though, when a rough transcript of the phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy, along with a number of current and former State Department officials and White House employees, confirm the whistleblower’s account — that not only was there a quid pro quo, but it was to benefit Trump personally? If you’re Mick Mulvaney or Donald Trump, you brazenly change your tack to “Yeah, we did it. Get over it.”
Though Mulvaney argued that every administration makes deals like this with foreign governments — seeking concessions in exchange for aid — it is done to aid the interests or protection of the United States. In this case, however, Donald Trump sought to use the U.S. military aid to further his personal political ambitions.
According to U.S. law, “soliciting anything of value” from a foreign government in connection with an election is illegal. Asking a leader of a foreign country for a “favor” — to dig up dirt on a political opponent — is illegal (let alone, unethical). A U.S. president using his office to further his personal interests is impeachable.
Shortly after throwing Trump under the bus, Mulvaney tried to walk back his words, claiming the press had misrepresented what he had said. Everyone in the room, however, heard what Mulvaney said, and there are multiple video records of what he said.
Considering the recent and upcoming testimony of several diplomats and other U.S. Foreign Service officials, including today’s scheduled testimony from acting U.S, Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor, Jr., it’s clear that lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives do not intend to just “get over it.”
Mulvaney: ‘Get Over’ Political Influence in Foreign Policy | Bloomberg Markets and Finance [2019-10-17]
Fleischer: Mulvaney made a ‘terrible mistake’ by contradicting Trump |
Fox News | [2019-10-18]