Former New Jersey Governor and Trump campaign supporter Chris Christie has declined the Chief of Staff position in Donald Trump’s administration.
Christie met with President Trump last night to discuss the details of replacing outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly, but today Christie elected not to accept the job, according to the Hill. Christie has deep ties to President Trump — after initially opposing him in the 2016 Republican primary — becoming one of President Trump’s first public GOP supporters after dropping out of the race. After the election, Christie directed President Trump’s transition team, and has served as an advisor to the administration.
“It’s an honor to have the President consider me as he looks to choose a new White House chief-of-staff,” Christie said in a statement. “However, I’ve told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment. As a result, I have asked not to be considered for this post.”
The president did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
President Trump said yesterday that there were five finalists for the Chief of Staff position — and while he did not name the finalists he did say that they were “mostly well known” and “terrific people”. Multiple reports have cited David Bossie — a former Trump administration advisor — current Acting Attorney General Matthew Whittaker, and current Secretary of Energy Rick Perry as some of the people who may be tapped for the job by President Trump. The Huffington Post also floated the idea that Trump may select his son-in-law Jared Kushner for the post. The favorite for the position, Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayers, turned down the position earlier this week.
ABC’s Alex Mallin wrote a Twitter post at 9:20 this morning claiming that Bossie and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandoski had walked into the West Wing together. The pair have written two pro-Trump books together. It is uncertain if one, both, or either of them are interviewing for the Chief of Staff post.
“I have at least 10, 12 people who want it badly, I am making a decision. Great people, I could do it immediately. I’m in no rush. A lot of people want it.”
Whoever is appointed to the position will become President Trump’s third Chief of Staff in only two years, following Reice Priebus and John Kelly. It remains to be seen who will occupy the post.