Politics & Government

Mulvaney holds town hall in Rock Hill

U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-SC, spoke to a town hall in Rock Hill on Monday, one of the congressman’s frequent appearances to answer questions from voters back home.
U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-SC, spoke to a town hall in Rock Hill on Monday, one of the congressman’s frequent appearances to answer questions from voters back home. bmarchant@heraldonline.com

U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney wistfully remembers his time in the state Legislature, when he still had time to coach his son’s baseball games.

His children were fine with the idea of Dad running for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District seat in 2010, until his 10-year-old son realized Mulvaney wouldn’t be able to coach his games any more and started to cry.

Mulvaney’s wife put a stop to that, telling the boy other kids’ parents would go overseas and die for their country, “so you can give up a baseball coach,” the Indian Land Republican told a town hall-style gathering in Rock Hill on Monday.

But considering the state of Washington, D.C., these days, Mulvaney, now in his third congressional term, sounded like he regrets making the trade-off.

“I wonder sometimes if it’s worth what we give up for as little as we accomplish,” he said.

Mulvaney spoke to around 50 people who showed up at the Baxter Hood Center at York Technical College. The new Republican majority in Congress has stopped the Obama administration from doing some “bad things” like cap-and-trade legislation, but other than a bill to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, his colleagues in Congress haven’t given the president enough to veto.

“Elections have consequences, except in the Senate, where it would not be much different if (Democratic leader) Harry Reid were still in charge.”

He laid some of the blame on his own House’s leadership. Speaker John Boehner “spends too much time talking to (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell and not enough with the right-wing base,” and he “thinks he’s the only adult in the room.”

Mulvaney said he has a “strained” relationship with the House speaker, whom he voted against after the 2012 election and only grudgingly supported earlier this year. He predicted Boehner won’t seek another term as speaker.

Mulvaney’s children came up again when a high school student in the crowd asked about the recent shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, by a white North Charleston police officer, and whether it would lead to police in the state being required to wear body cameras.

“My kids asked me about this recently,” Mulvaney said. “And I told them there’s nothing better than a good cop and nothing worse than a bad cop.”

Mulvaney told the young man Monday night he doubts the federal government will ever mandate body cameras but said North Charleston and South Carolina have done a better job of handling Scott’s slaying than other jurisdictions where similar incidents have occurred, citing the rioting in Baltimore that erupted after a man was killed in police custody there.

In response to other questions, Mulvaney said he wants stronger border security before Congress passes an immigration reform bill but said he does not support calls by some immigration opponents to deport millions of illegal immigrants first. He touted a military spending bill that would protect the free speech rights of military chaplains and defund the introduction of “atheist chaplains” by the Pentagon. He promised more town halls in the district in the future.

After the meeting, Mulvaney rushed out of the venue to relive the good old days. He had just enough time to catch the end of his son’s baseball game.

Bristow Marchant •  803-329-4062