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Mick Mulvaney ‘no longer interested’ in USC presidency, his office says

Mick Mulvaney’s office confirmed reports that he sought to be the president of the University of South Carolina, but said he no longer wants the job.

Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff and former S.C. Congressman, met with a USC board of trustee member late last year where they discussed Mulvaney’s possible presidency, an Office of Management and Budget spokesperson said in a statement

“In early December, Mick had coffee with a longtime friend, neighbor, and member of the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees, when he was home. They had a brief conversation about the recent retirement announcement of the president of the University of South Carolina and the potential suitability of Mick filling that position,” the statement said. “The conversation occurred before he was named acting chief of staff and it should go without saying that he is no longer interested in seeking employment at the university or anywhere else.”

The statement indicated the meeting took place between Dec. 1 and Dec. 14, when Mulvaney accepted the position as acting chief of staff. The statement did not say which the board of trustee member attended the meeting.

When The State reached out to Mark Buyck, a USC trustee emeritus and member of the presidential search committee, for a previous story on this topic, Buyck said he was not aware of Mulvaney’s interest in becoming the next president of USC.

When the New York Times broke the story on Jan. 7, the newspaper said Mulvaney met with a “senior official at the university” regarding the possibility of him becoming the school’s next president. The distinction between a senior official and a board of trustee member is significant because nearly all of the presidential search committee is made up of board of trustee members. However, there are board of trustee members who are not on the search committee. It’s unclear if the trustee Mulvaney met with was on the search committee.

Mulvaney’s talks about being the next president of USC have drawn accusations of foul play from political rivals. Last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, formally asked officials to investigate whether Mulvaney illegally sought a new job while he was a high-ranking federal employee.

USC’s current president, Harris Pastides, plans to stay president until July 31, 2019.

Lucas Daprile has been covering the University of South Carolina and higher education since March 2018. Before working for The State, he graduated from Ohio University and worked as an investigative reporter at TCPalm in Stuart, FL. There, where he won multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for his political and environmental coverage.
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