WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney offered a blunt defense of the Trump administration's budget proposal on Thursday.
"They told me that I should try to make news this morning, so let me see if I can make news: Republicans care about poor people," the budget chief said on "Fox & Friends."
Mulvaney was responding to the deluge of criticism that followed the rollout of President Donald Trump's first full budget proposal earlier this week, even though it faces certain changes in Congress.
Democrats quickly criticized the proposed deep cuts, highlighting funding reductions for safety net programs, and even Republicans expressed hesitation. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, called the budget "dead on arrival," and Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, predicted that foreign aid cuts in the budget "will not stand" and called other cuts "draconian, careless and counterproductive."
The budget director pushed back on the criticism on Thursday.
"Republicans care about kids. Republicans care about the elderly. Just like many Democrats care about national defense. And the rhetoric, this demagoguery just doesn't help the debate at all," Mulvaney said. "We do one thing, which is very important, which is we are defending the taxpayer. It's a taxpayer-first budget, and that's how we approached it."
Echoing his argument when the budget was unveiled earlier in the week, Mulvaney insisted it still "increased spending on a bunch of different things. We just don't increase it as fast as Congress wants to."
Mulvaney also took issue with the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's scoring of House Republicans' bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. The CBO projected that 23 million fewer Americans will have health insurance by 2026 under the GOP plan.
"They've been wrong on so many things," Mulvaney said.
"If you look at the methodology, they assume that folks who were on Medicaid, which is free, will choose to get off Medicaid when the mandate goes away. Now, you tell me if that sounds like the real world," Mulvaney said.
Another big factor contributing to the coverage loss would be cuts to Medicaid funding of at least $600 billion, as detailed in the administration's budget.