Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney brushed off President Donald Trump’s wholly inaccurate remarks about the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, saying Trump’s comments were “borne out of frustration” and that he wasn’t “concerned about the details” of them.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Mulvaney was asked by host Jake Tapper about the president’s little history lesson, which the Wall Street Journal editorial board called the most “absurd statement of history by an American president.”
“As you know, the Soviet Union did not invade Afghanistan because terrorists from Afghanistan were attacking the Soviet Union, and it is not necessarily considered by Americans or even the Soviets, now Russians, certainly not the Afghans, a good thing that they did so,” Tapper stated. “Where did he get that idea from?”
“I think that idea is borne out of frustration,” Mulvaney responded. “This ties into the comments and discussions you and I have had about Syria as well which is the president promised that he would have a different Middle Eastern foreign policy. He’s just very frustrated with the slow progress.”
The CNN anchor reacted by noting that it has always been a challenge for chiefs of staff to make sure that the best information possible gets to the president’s desk and that former Chief of Staff John Kelly put a lot of effort to stemming the tide of bad information to Trump. Mulvaney, who currently holds two other jobs within the administration, said that Trump “gets the best information that’s available” before pivoting to the president’s decision-making and possible disagreements with staff.
“I’m not taking issue with the decisions,” Tapper countered. “I’m taking issue with bad facts, information that’s incorrect such as why the Soviet Union went into Afghanistan. And I’m wondering if you are at all concerned that there is a campaign to get bad information to President Trump.”
The White House budget director stated that he has been in the job of chief of staff for four days but during that time and in the final two weeks of Kelly’s tenure he hasn’t seen “anything objectionable” come across the Resolute Desk.
“You know it’s not true that the Soviet Union didn’t invade Afghanistan because of terrorist attacks on the Soviet Union, and they — it was not a good thing that they went in there, right?” Tapper pushed back.
“I think those are comments the president made borne out of frustration for where we are,” Mulvaney reiterated. “I’m not too concerned about the details.”
Watch the clip above, via CNN.