President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly considered a job as the president of the University of South Carolina, according to a report in The New York Times.
Mulvaney “initiated a discussion with a senior official at the university late last year about the position,” according to the Times, which cited four unnamed sources who were “familiar with the discussions.”
USC has been searching for a president to replace Harris Pastides since he announced his retirement in October. Pastides’ last day is set to be July 31, 2019.
Mark Buyck, a USC trustee emeritus and member of the presidential search committee, told The State he was not aware of The New York Times story or Mulvaney’s reported interested in being president of USC.
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“I know he’s a mighty capable individual,” Buyck said of Mulvaney.
The presidential search is still in the “embryo stage, and we are gearing up to start identifying potential candidates,” Buyck said. It’s unclear, however, who has applied for the position and whether there are any front-runners. At least one potential candidate, USC Provost Joan Gabel, was ruled out early after she accepted the job as president at the University of Minnesota.
Before serving as Trump’s budget manager, Mulvaney was a South Carolina congressman from the 5th District for six years.
Mulvaney is a temporary replacement for Gen. John Kelly, who retired as chief of staff late last year.
The White House has denied the report, according to the Times.
“Mick Mulvaney is focused on faithfully executing the job the president has asked him to do, and as such he is not interested in any other positions,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told the Times.
Mulvaney represented the state’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all of Cherokee, Chester, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee, Union and York counties, and part of Newberry, Spartanburg and Sumter counties.
That seat is currently held by Republican Ralph Norman of Rock Hill, who defeated Archie Parnell in November’s election in a landslide.
Some top officials in S.C. are also considering Andrew Card, President George W. Bush’s former chief of staff, for president of USC, the Times reported. Card, a USC alumnus, was also considered a contender for USC presidency in 2008, alongside Pastides.
Mulvaney did not respond to a call or text seeking comment from The State.