In the midst of one of the most daunting crises of his administration, President Trump on Friday announced he'd made a major staff overhaul, replacing his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney with Republican Rep. Mark Meadows. While much of the country was focused on the spreading coronavirus, Trump announced the surprise reshuffle via Friday night tweets, saying Mulvaney would become the US special envoy for Northern Ireland. "I have long known and worked with Mark, and the relationship is a very good one," he wrote, thanking Mulvaney "for having served the Administration so well." The long-rumored move comes as Trump has been pulling together a team of loyalists and allies ahead of what's expected to be a bitter reelection fight. It was one of a long series of downgrades for Mulvaney, whose relationship with Trump soured not long after being named to the role in December 2018.
Meadows, the onetime leader of the House Freedom Caucus, is a longtime Trump confidant and sounding board, whose political instincts Trump respects. Meadows announced last year that he wouldn't be seeking reelection for his North Carolina House seat and said at the time he expected to join Trump's team in some capacity. He will be Trump's fourth chief of staff in as many years. He was officially offered the job Thursday, per a source; Mulvaney was informed Friday. Meadows, a close ally of the president, has made clear to the White House that he has no plans to try to rein in Trump, as others—including Mulvaney's predecessor, retired four-star Gen. John Kelly—have tried and failed to do. One person close to Mulvaney insisted he was pleased with the decision to bring in Meadows, noting the two were friends and had served together on the House Freedom Caucus.
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