White House budget director Mick Mulvaney described it as “kind of cool” that he’s technically in charge of shutting down the government during an interview Friday.
“Obviously, I’m heavily involved in this, Sean, is that the Office of Management and Budget is charged with, you know, sort of implementing running a shutdown,” Mulvaney said on conservative commentator Sean Hannity’s radio show before the shutdown went into effect.
He added, “In fact, I found out for the first time last night that the person who technically shuts the government down is me, which is kind of cool.”
Media Matters was the first to point out Mulvaney’s remarks.
Mulvaney has been tasked with negotiating a deal with congressional leaders to fund the government and end the shutdown that began on Friday midnight.
If Congress doesn’t reach a deal, come Monday, thousands of federal employees will be placed on furlough.
In the interview, Mulvaney listed all the federal departments and services that will continue to operate and employees who would report for duty if the government shuts down.
“To think that this government is going to shut down in the same way that it did in the Obama administration is just wrong,” Mulvaney said, referring to the 2013 government shutdown.
Hannity also argued that the shutdown would be “phony” and that all the “important aspects” of the government will continue and federal employees who are furloughed will be reimbursed.
“This is not a shutdown. This is not a thing,” Hannity said.
During the 2013 government shutdown under President Barack Obama, Mulvaney was serving as a Republican congressman representing South Carolina. He considered himself part of the “Shutdown Caucus” – the hardline conservatives who objected to the funding of the Affordable Care Act included in the government spending bill.
The 2013 shutdown lasted 16 days and cost the economy an estimated $20 billion, according to an estimate from Moody’s Analytics.
On Twitter, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, called Mulvaney’s remarks “sick and twisted” and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin called it a “shameful response by the Trump administration.”