Mick Mulvaney: Government shutdown not "good for the administration"

Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, says that the government shutdown isn't "good for the administration," as Eric Trump, the president's son, suggested on Saturday. But Mulvaney said the president is correct in considering it a political "present" from Democrats on the anniversary of his inauguration. 

"I think the 'present' comment is correct," Mulvaney said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" when asked about the president's tweet from Saturday. He claimed that the anniversary of President Trump taking office was partially responsible for the shutdown. 

"I think one of the reasons you're seeing the Democrats pick this fight right now and the reason that it is different than it has been in the past is because here we are on the first anniversary. Should be talking about the successes. And instead we're talking about a shutdown," said Mulvaney.

Despite Democrats' opposition, Mulvaney said the administration has been "very straightforward from the beginning" that the White House does "not want this shutdown."

"That's why you've seen the president work so hard and why we're so frustrated that Senate Democrats can't seem to figure out a way to get to 'yes,'" he added.

In a briefing on Friday ahead of a failed vote in the Senate, Mulvaney said the effects of a shutdown would be different than those seen during the last shutdown in October 2013, when the federal government closed for 16 days. He claimed that the Obama administration "weaponized the shutdown in 2013."

"We are going to run and are running the shutdown very differently now than the Obama administration ran it in 2013," Mulvaney said Sunday. "You cannot convince me that the Obama administration did not weaponize this for political purposes."

Mulvaney, whose office is in charge of implementing the logistics of the shutdown, said on Sean Hannity's radio show on Friday that he thought it was "kind of cool" to find out he was the person who actually shuts down the federal government. He explained on Sunday that he thought the fact was "interesting from an academic standpoint."

"After all I've been through in Washington, D.C., to learn on Friday afternoon that the person who actually physically sends the instructions to sort of shut the government down, to go through the lapse in appropriations, is the director of the Office of Management and Budget, which is me. Didn't mean that I liked it," said Mulvaney on Sunday.

As the shutdown enters its second day, Mulvaney explained how the funding crisis is impacting those at home and abroad. 

"First of all, Social Security checks do go out and will go out. Social Security is not impacted by any government shutdown because the money is mandatory and not appropriated," said Mulvaney.

As for members of the U.S military, Mulvaney says that troops will go to work, but do not automatically get paid unless and until Congress votes to compensate them for their work during the mandatory furlough.

"They have to go to work. They will go to work. They will be continuing to guard the country and do the necessary and important work that they're doing. But they have no guarantee of getting paid. And that's not right," said Mulvaney.

Mulvaney says that Congress has always voted to pay servicemembers retroactively following a shutdown.

As for continuing to limit the overall impact of the shutdown on the American public, Mulvaney said that Mr. Trump had directed him to do "everything you can to make sure this impacts as few people as possible."

"The president has told me, 'Make sure as many people can go to work on Monday as they can. Make sure you use every tool legally available to you to keep as much of the government open.' And that's what we'll do," he added.

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital