President Trump's Turbulent List of Candidates for Chief of Staff

John Kelly
Trump's chief of staff: Nick Ayers not taking role, to leave White House at year's end
Author

12 December, 2018

On Sunday, citing unnamed White House officials, The Wall Street Journal and other outlets said Trump and Ayers had failed to agree on terms.

Ayers is Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff.

Mr Trump will decide on his new chief of staff by the end of the year, sources said.

Allies of Meadows have broached the idea of him taking on the chief of staff role as a duo with Bossie acting as a second-in-command.

With four likely front-runners out of the race, the field has opened up to several candidates outside of the White House.

Ayers' decision not to take the job came as a surprise since he had been lobbying for the position, the sources said.

The search comes after Ayers, Trump's initial choice for the job, bowed out Sunday. "I don't think very much different than most administrations", Trump said.

Following the deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, Kelly was reportedly furious at Trump's tepid response, and said he would have taken a "resignation letter and shoved it up his arse six different times", according to sources in journalist Bob Woodward's White House tell-all, "Fear: Trump in the White House". "It remains to be seen which direction Trump will go, but other contenders for the chief of staff position reportedly include Citizens United president Dave Bossie-who served as deputy campaign manager for Trump in 2016-and US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, as well as Blackstone lobbyist Wayne Berman".

Trump also has told people around him that he misses the more freewheeling feel of the Oval Office under Priebus and would not let his new chief of staff set the kinds of limits he allowed Kelly to impose.

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Ayers had always been discussed as the individual who would replace John Kelly, who will be leaving by the end of the year. John Kelly, the retired Marine general who attempted to instill military discipline around Trump, is expected to leave by the end of the year.

The constant staff upheaval at all levels has left Trump's White House grappling to try to advance his policies.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been working on negotiations between the United States and China as the two nations strive toward new trade agreements.

Any vacuum in the White House's top management job risks encouraging the return of internal strife.

HORSLEY: But it may be a little longer than that before Trump is able to name Kelly's replacement.

Trump now faces House probes into his businesses and most contentious policies, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible collusion between Trump's election campaign team and Russian officials in 2016.

Trump's relationship with Kelly was equally troubled by some accounts.

Following the staffing shake up, new speculation has begun on who will replace Kelly.


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