Rumored John Kelly Replacement Is Quitting

Nick Ayers won't be chief of staff after all
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 9, 2018 5:06 PM CST
In this Aug. 1, 2017 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence, left, attends a meeting with Georgia opposition leaders in Tbilisi, Georgia.   (Zurab Kurtsikidze/Pool Photo via AP, File)
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(Newser) – President Trump's top pick to replace chief of staff John Kelly, Nick Ayers, is no longer expected to fill the role, the AP reports. Ayers, who is chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, was seen as the favorite for the job when Trump announced Saturday that Kelly would leave around year's end. But a White House official said Sunday that Trump and Ayers could not reach agreement on Ayers' length of service and that he would instead assist the president from outside the administration. Ayers confirmed the decision in a tweet Sunday, thanking Trump and Pence for giving him the opportunity to work in the White House: "I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause," he said. (He was actually a somewhat controversial choice.)

It was not immediately clear whether Trump had a new favorite for the post. The official was not authorized to discuss the personnel issue by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. Ayers and Trump had discussed the job for months. The new hire was to be key to a West Wing reshuffling to shift focus toward the 2020 re-election campaign and the challenge of governing with Democrats in control of the House. Trump is considering four people as he determines who will be his next chief of staff, per the AP. A person familiar with Trump's thinking says the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, is among those under consideration to replace Kelly. (Trump picked an "ebullient officer" to lead the Joint Chiefs of Staff.)


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