Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney did not find out about the U.S. military operation against ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi until it was underway, NBC News is reporting.
The network news attributed its information to five current and former senior administration officials.
President Donald Trump had tweeted Saturday night: “Something very big has just happened!” At the time, Mulvaney was home in South Carolina. Mulvaney was briefed on the raid that night, according to NBC News.
Typically, a White House chief of staff would be key in notifying congressional leaders and coordinating public statements in situations like this. NBC News noted that during the Osama bin Laden raid in 2011, Bill Daley, who was then chief of staff, was seated next to President Barack Obama monitoring the military operation.
The move to keep Mulvaney in the dark about the latest military move indicates he is being sidelined inside the White House, the network news said.
Andrew Card, former chief of staff for George W. Bush, expressed surprise by the decision to not involve Mulvaney.
“I’m baffled by it,” Card said. “It’s hard for me to imagine."
But one unnamed source told NBC News that the president didn’t include Mulvaney because he doesn’t see him playing a role in national security issues.
Meanwhile, Chris Whipple, author of “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency,” said: “It’s really unprecedented, and to me it’s just a symptom of a total breakdown in the White House functions.”
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