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New US special envoy in Belfast defends Trump against his list of critics

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Experience: Mick Mulvaney

Experience: Mick Mulvaney

Experience: Mick Mulvaney

Donald Trump is a "small businessman who has done extraordinarily well", according to the new special envoy to Northern Ireland.

Mick Mulvaney was defending the US President against accusations from former administration officials that he is not fit for his job.

The President did not have the experience of running government and failed to "hire very well" in the early days of his administration, said Mr Mulvaney, a former acting White House chief of staff who was himself replaced after a major gaffe.

As the fallout continues from the publication of a book by former top official John Bolton, Mr Mulvaney said the President initially did not know how to put together a team that could work well with him.

In an interview with CNN, Mr Mulvaney, who officially took up his position as envoy here last month, was responding to a question name-checking various former administration officials who have queried President Trump's fitness for the job.

Mr Mulvaney said those critical of the President, including former national security adviser Bolton, former White House chief of staff John Kelly, former defense secretary Jim Mattis, former navy secretary Richard Spencer and former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, are "wrong".

"If there was one criticism that I would level against the President, [it] is that he didn't hire very well. He did not have experience at running government and didn't know how to put together a team that could work well with him," Mr Mulvaney said.

Mr Mulvaney added "there is something generally consistent" with the list of critics, and that "they are folks either in the military or actively involved in the military".

This is "not the type of person who works well with Donald Trump, who is a small businessman who has done extraordinarily well", Mr Mulvaney said, adding that there are others in the administration who know the President can be successful and do not complain about him.

Mr Bolton, describing a conversation with Mike Pompeo, wrote in his memoir that the current secretary of state "thought Mulvaney would do essentially whatever Ivanka [Trump] and [Jared] Kushner wanted him to do" as acting chief of staff, "which worried both of us philosophically".

The book, which was cleared for publication by a judge over the weekend, also hinted that Mulvaney may have been the architect of the scheme to withhold military aid from Ukraine in exchange for political favours

Mr Mulvaney was seen to have implicated the President in last year's impeachment inquiry in an unscripted comment at the White House. Asked about allegations of a corrupt deal with Ukraine, he replied "we do that all the time" - a comment said to have angered Mr Trump.

Belfast Telegraph