After it was announced late last week that current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly would be departing by the end of this year, many began to speculate who President Donald Trump would pick to replace him. A leading contender for the role, however, has just bowed out.
Nick Ayers, who currently serves as Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff, a role he assumed in July, 2017, had been actively lobbying for the promotion to manage Trump’s White House, according to reporting from CNN. Trump and Ayers, however, couldn’t come to terms on certain conditions that would be tied to the role if he took it, including Trump wanting Ayers to commit to a minimum of at least two years as chief of staff.
Ayers, who has young children living back in his Georgia home, didn’t want to make that sort of commitment, as it’s also been said he wants to move back sometime soon.
Not being able to commit to a two-year commitment is likely a deal-breaker for Trump. Since assuming office less than two years ago, the president has already had two chiefs of staff resign, and many other senior staff members have left the White House at faster rate than most modern presidents, according to reporting from Vox.
Nick Ayers no longer in the running to be President Trump's next chief of staff https://t.co/st6lkLqW8w— MSNBC (@MSNBC) December 9, 2018
Some have suggested others in the White House — including first lady Melania Trump — did not approve of the pick.
In a tweet on Sunday, Ayers put out a gracious statement thanking the president for considering him to the role. Ayers stated he’d be leaving the White House “at the end of the year,” and that he would “work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause” in the future.
Many other names have been floated as possibilities to replace Kelly when he departs from the White House. Among them, reports Bloomberg, is current acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has experience as a chief of staff having previously served in such a role for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Appointing Whitaker to that position in the White House, however, would be quite controversial, especially given that some of Whitaker’s previous business dealings have recently come under scrutiny, according to reporting from The Hill.
His appointment would also require Trump to pick someone to lead the Department of Justice, as Trump has made it clear through his actions that he doesn’t want any possibility that would allow Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to step in as acting attorney general, as the law actually stipulates he should be, according to reporting from CNBC.
Following news of Ayers not accepting the position, the White House reiterated its claims that it would find someone to serve as chief of staff before the year is out.