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Former White House chiefs of staff speak in Chicago

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(The Center Square) – Former White House chiefs of staff say dealing with egos is a big challenge in Washington D.C.

Four former chiefs gathered at an event hosted by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. The speaker series featured Andrew Card, William Daley, Mack McLarty and Mick Mulvaney.

Daley spent two years as chief of staff for President Barack Obama. The former candidate for Illinois governor and Chicago mayor said managing egos was the toughest part of being chief of staff.

“You’ve got a lot of talent in most of these Cabinets. And they have egos, because they’ve been around, most of them, for a long time. That’s how they got the job,” Daley said.

Mick Mulvaney worked as acting chief of staff for President Donald Trump in 2019 and early in 2020. Mulvaney said he also dealt with big egos.

“John Bolton was a very bright man, there’s no question, one of the smartest I’ve ever met. [I] was never really able to convince him that he wasn’t the president,” Mulvaney said.

Mack McLarty was President Bill Clinton’s first chief of staff in 1993 and 1994.

“My job was to try to focus the president and the White House and the Cabinet. Keep our eyes on the big prize: peace and prosperity,” McLarty said.

Daley said the number one quality for him in dealing with the president was honesty.

“I used to love how so-called powerful people would come into the Oval Office. Especially business leaders (would say) ‘I’m going to go in there and I’m going to tell him this,’ and I’d say, yeah, OK sure. And they’d get in there and they’d melt. And they’d say, ‘Well, you’re doing a great job,’” Daley recalled.

Andrew Card also participated in the event. Card worked as chief of staff for President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006.