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Resignations Stack Up At White House: ‘I Can’t Do It. I Can’t Stay Here’

"Those who choose to stay ... are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in."
Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, speaks during a discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. President Trump will address this years CPAC after seeking to close ranks within his administration about the threat posed by the coronavirus and how the U.S. government plans to stop its spread following mixed messages that rattled Wall Street. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney, former chief of staff to President Donald Trump, announced his resignation from the White House on Thursday, citing rioters at the United States Capitol on Wednesday.

“I called [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mulvaney told CNBC News.

The former chief of staff said he spoke to others who are planning to resign too but are currently staying on “because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in.”

“Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in,” Mulvaney said.

Matthew Pottinger, deputy to National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, resigned Wednesday. Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, and White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, have also resigned, CNBC noted, adding that it is rumored O’Brien’s resignation is imminent, too.

Mulvaney highlighted yesterday’s chaos at the U.S. Capitol in his rationale for resigning. “We didn’t sign up for what you saw last night,” he said. “We signed up for making America great again, we signed up for lower taxes and less regulation. The president has a long list of successes that we can be proud of.”

“But all of that went away yesterday,” he added, “and I think you’re right to ask the question as to ‘how did it happen?’”

Trump, Mulvaney said, is “not the same as he was eight months ago.”

“The folks who spent time away from our families, put our careers on the line to go work for Donald Trump, and we did have those successes to look back at, but now it will always be, ‘Oh yeah, you work for the guy who tried to overtake the government,’” the former chief of staff said, adding, “That legacy is gone as of yesterday and that’s extraordinarily disappointing to those of us who work for him.”

According to Forbes, Grisham who formerly served as press secretary to Trump is “very close” with First Lady Melania Trump “but had previously considered leaving multiple times.”

“As someone who worked in the halls of Congress I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today,” read a statement from deputy press secretary Matthews, adding, “Our nation needs a peaceful peaceful transfer of power.”

White House social secretary Rickie Niceta, per Forbes, “resigned in reaction to the Capitol breach” on Wednesday.

Commerce Department’s deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and security John Costello, too, resigned Wednesday in reaction to the chaos at the Capitol, according to The Wall Street Journal. Ryan Tully, the National Security Council’s senior director for European and Russian Affairs, also reportedly resigned.

Related: Police Chief: At Least Fourteen Officers Injured Amid Capitol Violence

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