U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina had no comment about his New York meeting Monday with President-elect Donald Trump.
The Trump transition team only would say the two men had, indeed, met. Trump spokesman Jason Miller added the Indian Land Republican “has a very proven track record as a fiscal conservative and a government reformer.”
As for why they met, that’s a secret. The only hint lay in a two-month-old response to a comment on Mulvaney’s Facebook page.
On Oct. 19, Mulvaney was asked by a reader which office in a Trump Administration he would like: “I would love to be the director of OMB (the Office of Management and Budget). That is where I think REAL improvements could be made in how the government is run,” he wrote, back then.
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Experts wonder, however, if the Management and Budget rumor — where Mulvaney’s name is one of a half-dozen that has been speculated — makes sense.
Management and Budget is a tremendously important job in any administration. But it is the ultimate apparatchik position. Historically, the job has been one for insiders who savor the challenge of digging into budgets, and less commonly attractive to those with political ambitions.
The OMB rumor is a far cry from the other rumor following Mulvaney around after his landslide re-election in November to a fourth term to Congress – that he’s mulling a gubernatorial bid.
Todd Shaw, political science chairman at the University of South Carolina, says the notion of Mulvaney at OMB is a bit puzzling.
“The job does not move you forward in South Carolina politics,” said Shaw. “Traditionally, it doesn’t move you forward in politics much at all. Even if he served as an OMB director and wanted to return to the seat he’s now in, he’d come back a bit behind where he is right now. Unless he doesn’t have future political ambitions, I’d be surprised.”
However, OMB is inside the realm of Mulvaney’s interests. Mulvaney now is on the House committees on Financial Services, and Oversight and Government Reform, both areas that work on similar topics in government.
But the House committees are about creating policy, while OMB is about policy enforcement.
That isn’t to say the job has been a no-go zone for politicians.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, whose views on cutting government spending are similar to Mulvaney’s, left the U.S. House before taking the director’s job under President George W. Bush. He ran for the Senate later.
Leon Panetta, who ran OMB under President Bill Clinton, also had been a member of the House before accepting the position. He then was Clinton’s chief of staff, and later, under President Barack Obama, CIA director and secretary of defense.
Matthew Schofield: 202-383-6066, @mattschodcnews
Former Haley agency head meets with Trump team
U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney wasn’t the only South Carolinian to meet with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team Monday.
Catherine Templeton — a former head of the two cabinet agencies under Gov. Nikki Haley — also meet with Trump officials.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller praised Templeton for cutting agency budgets, reducing fees and her "significant public and private sector experience with labor relations."
Templeton has said she plans to run for S.C. governor in 2018.