President-elect Trump on Friday stunned observers on all sides with his pick of Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R.-S.C., to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Mulvaney is almost universally considered a hard-liner against deficit spending who would let the government close before extending the national debt.
However, he is also someone with a record of building coalitions, as his first dramatic election to the House demonstrated.
"When Republican leaders here first approached me last year about running against [Democratic Rep.] John Spratt," then-State Sen. Mulvaney told this reporter in 2010, "my immediate reaction was 'You're crazy!' He has been the congressman [from South Carolina's 5th District] for 28 years. A lot of folks have run against him, but no one can beat him."
However, Mulvaney changed his mind after attending a town meeting conducted by Spratt.
As he put it, "Spratt said something that night I never forgot: 'When government controls your healthcare, you'll see a quantum leap in the reduction of costs and increase of the quality of services.'"
That was enough to convince him to run.
In a short time, the fractious GOP in the Palmetto State's 14-county 5th District rallied to the young legislator.
"Establishment" Republicans urged him to run, and Mitt Romney came to South Carolina to stump for him. Evangelical conservatives considered him one of their own for his leadership in passage of a bill adding an ultrasound test to the list of procedures required before an abortion is permitted.
"And I'm the tea party candidate as well," Mulvaney said proudly. "If political reporters want to know what drives the Tea Partiers, it is their belief in the Constitution. That's what has always driven me in politics and will guide me in Congress."
In November 2010, Mulvaney beat the veteran incumbent with 55 percent of the vote.
A founding Member of the House GOP's "Freedom Caucus," Mulvaney in 2015 was one of 28 Republicans in the House who supported replacing then-Speaker John Boehner with a more combative alternative.
When Boehner finally called it quits, he supported Florida Rep. Dan Webster for speaker.
But, eventually, he and the Freedom Caucus went along with Paul Ryan to wield the speaker's gavel.
Mulvaney is also someone who knows how to compromise.
During the fight in the House for defunding Planned Parenthood, Mulvaney called for simply moving the funding to other entities.
House Republicans can avoid the charge that their defunding of Planned Parenthood is "anti-woman," he said, "by moving Planned Parenthood's funding to federal health centers."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.