Mick Mulvaney Says He's Surprised Supporters Took Trump 'Literally,' Riot 'Changed Everything'

Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said he and several others resigned from their government posts last week because Wednesday's Capitol Hill riot revealed an "existential" threat against the country.

During an appearance on Sunday's Meet the Press, Mulvaney said President Donald Trump has not "had an ability to pivot" any of his opinions and has "not been the same" since he lost the November presidential election. Mulvaney expressed shock at the deadly Washington riots and appeared to be awed that "people took [Trump] literally." Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace also pushed back on Mulvaney as a Trump "yes man" and other former aides who say Trump has not changed. Mulvaney replied sheepishly, "It's not true. It's not good to surround yourself with yes men."

"Wednesday was a fundamental threat to the United States, it speaks to what makes us American, it's an existential type of thing, it's not superficial, it's deep and it's real and it's different, which is why you saw so many resignations this week and didn't see them over the course of the last couple years. Wednesday changed everything," Mulvaney said.

WATCH: @MickMulvaney says he doesn't know "what's going on inside the Oval Office now and ... inside the president's head" after resigning from his position within the Trump administration. #MTP

Mulvaney: "Wednesday was a fundamental threat to the United States." pic.twitter.com/ivbwf0iP7q

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 10, 2021

"People took him literally. I never thought I'd see that," he also said of the mob of Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, capping off weeks of the president calling for "wild" protests.

Mulvaney relayed a story "I've not told before" during his appearances on Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday, in which he attempted to portray Trump as a thoughtful leader just months ago. The former chief of staff—who resigned last week from his position as U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland after the riot—described how President Trump sought counsel with several people, including his daughter Ivanka and GOP congressman Kevin McCarthy, when he was accused in 2019 of witness tampering during the impeachment process. Mulvaney's reference was to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who told House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff it's "very intimidating" to see the president tweeting negative remarks about her personally during testimony.

"We take witness intimidation very, very seriously," Schiff replied, probing for potential witness tampering charges which could be added to Trump's impeachment allegations. At that time, Mulvaney claimed, Trump "had the ability to pivot ... he fixed it, reversed course and did the right thing." But now, he added, the president appears incapable of changing his mind about anything.

"That's the president I knew," explained Mulvaney. "That's the reason I thought we would never be here. I thought the president would be presidential."

Meet the Press host Chuck Todd pushed back at Mulvaney's attempt to backtrack his role in the Trump administration, and asked whether he "wish he would have listened" to his own cautionary 2016 remarks. As a GOP congressman prior to being tapped as chief of staff in 2018, Mulvaney called Trump a "terrible human being" who would be "disqualified from office in an ordinary universe."

In response, Mulvaney said "that's different" because it was in the wake of the Access Hollywood "locker room talk" video. He defended himself and said "policy differences are different" from "things you don't like about a person's personality."

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.

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President Donald Trump hands his pen to Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Mick Mulvaney (front-L), after signing an executive order entitled, 'Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch', beside members of his cabinet in the Oval Office of the White House on March 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. Also pictured are Administrator of the Small Business Administration Linda McMahon (2-L), Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (3-L), US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (4-L), Secretary of Housing and Urban Developement (HUD) Ben Carson (Back C), Vice President Mike Pence (3-R), Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (2-R) and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (R). MICHAEL REYNOLDS - Pool/Getty Images