Published: Thu, December 13, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Pence aide out of running to be Trump's next chief of staff

Pence aide out of running to be Trump's next chief of staff

A source telling Reuters that candidates under consideration include Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Republican Representative Mark Meadows, a staunch ally of the president on issues such as immigration.

Nick Ayers, the 36-year-old chief of staff to Mike Pence, the United States vice president, was widely considered the front-runner to replace Mr Kelly.

One source said Trump had sought a two-year commitment from Ayers but that he was unable to agree to that.

As for Meadows, the possibility of serving would be a privilege.

Ayers confirmed the decision in a tweet, thanking Trump and Pence for giving him the opportunity to work in the White House.

But critics questioned whether the young operative had the kind of experience needed to deal with the internal strife that has often engulfed the Trump White House.

On Saturday, the president told reporters at the White House Kelly would leave by the end of the year. It was only last summer President Trump said he wanted John Kelly to remain in that post through the 2020 election.

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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".

There was resistance to him being appointed from first lady Melania Trump and some senior staff, the sources said. Trump and Ayers had discussed the job for months, and the president had already been steering inquiries to the Pence staffer rather than Kelly.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sunday saying he was happy in his current role and had not been approached about the position. But tension between the two men and between Kelly and other top officials had grown in recent months.

Meanwhile, the list of names floated for the job continued to grow, including mentions by people close to the administration of former Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker - even White House communications director Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Trump increasingly bypassed Kelly to talk to old friends and outside advisers, tweet or make tactical moves against Kelly's advice.

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

The cabinet shake-up comes at a time of growing turmoil for the Trump administration, as the Russian Federation probe and a second investigation into campaign finance violations look likely to implicate the President and members of his inner circle in serious wrongdoing during the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump is considering four people as he determines who will be his next chief of staff.

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