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Trump replaces his chief of staff, appoints Rep. Mark Meadows

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Republican Congressman Mark Meadows has been named by US President Donald Trump as his new chief of staff, replacing Mick Mulvaney. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump has replaced acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, naming Republican North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows – a staunch ally -- as his new chief of staff.

Trump made public the staff reshuffle in Twitter messages posted Friday night, noting that Mulvaney will be appointed as the US special envoy for Northern Ireland.

"I want to thank Acting Chief Mick Mulvaney for having served the Administration so well. He will become the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland," Trump wrote. "Thank you!"

“I am pleased to announce that Congressman Mark Meadows will become White House Chief of Staff. I have long known and worked with Mark, and the relationship is a very good one,” Trump added.

The long-rumored move effectively makes Meadows -- who had announced he was not seeking re-election for his House seat in November -- Trump’s fourth chief of staff since taking over the White House in 2017.

A conservative four-term legislator in the House of Representatives who previously chaired the Freedom Caucus, Meadows has long been a major supporter of the US President. He has also been a fervent proponent of Trump’s controversial border wall in Congress.

The move came as the Trump administration was facing growing criticism for its handling of the corona virus outbreak across the US. Mulvaney had been leading the inter-agency response to the virus until Trump appointed Vice-President Mike Pence to lead the federal government effort more than a week ago.

The US president had considered dismissing Mulvaney at various junctures, but he was convinced not to do so by close aides, who argued a leadership change in the White House during impeachment could lead to unnecessary chaos.

Mulvaney was regarded as a key figure during the congressional proceedings to impeach Trump. US National Security Council (NSC) member Fiona Hill testified that Washington’s EU ambassador at the time, Gordon Sondland, had stated that Mulvaney to the European Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, said that Mulvaney approved a White House meeting with Trump for the Ukrainian president on condition Ukraine announced investigations tied to 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

Hill’s account was corroborated in testimony by another firsthand witness to the conversation, Lt Col Alexander Vindman, another NSC member that was dismissed from his job following Senate’s move to strike down the House impeachment of Trump.

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