President Donald Trump is weighing at least four people to serve as his next chief of staff, after plans for an orderly succession for departing John Kelly fell through.
The high-profile hiring search comes at a pivotal time as the president looks to prepare his White House for the twin challenges of securing his re-election and fending off inquiries once Democrats gain control of the House next year, The Associated Press reports.
Trump’s top pick for the job, Nick Ayers, is out of the running and Trump is now soliciting input on at least four individuals, including Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Also among those thought to be in the mix are Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, and Trump’s former deputy campaign manager David Bossie.
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. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive personnel matters.