Politics & Government

Mick Mulvaney’s latest professional road bump: A presidential chiding for coughing

One-time South Carolina state legislator and U.S. congressman Mick Mulvaney has faced a few setbacks since joining the Trump administration.

As White House budget chief in 2017, he couldn’t help sell his former congressional GOP colleagues on an Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill. This month, as acting White House chief of staff, he’s struggling to help land a spending deal with congressional leaders to avoid a future government shutdown.

Last week, however, Mulvaney endured a unique professional bump in the road: A dressing-down by his boss, the President of the United States, captured on video.

During filming of an exclusive interview in the Oval Office between President Donald Trump and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos — a clip of which was published online Sunday night and has since gone viral — Trump was midway through answering a question about the eventual release of his financial statements when a loud cough could be heard off-camera.

“Let’s do that over, he’s coughing in the middle of my answer,” said Trump, who then paused to glare in the direction of the offender, who Stephanopoulos identified as “your chief of staff.”

“I don’t like that, you know, I don’t like that,” Trump said.

“If you’re going to cough, please leave the room,” the president continued, briefly pointing his finger for emphasis. “You just can’t, you just can’t cough. Boy oh boy.”

Trump then proceeded to tell Stephanopoulos that “at some point ... I’d like to have people see my financial statement because it’s phenomenal,” but insisted it was up to his lawyers to release the information.

Emma Dumain covers Congress and congressional leadership for McClatchy DC and the company’s newspapers around the country. She previously covered South Carolina politics out of McClatchy’s Washington bureau. From 2008-2015, Dumain was a congressional reporter for CQ Roll Call.