President Donald Trump needs a new White House chief of staff ASAP. If you haven't heard, he announced last week that John Kelly would be leaving the position by the end of the year, which could honestly be any day now. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for further comment on Kelly's departure at the time, but did not receive a reply. While Trump reportedly had a top contender in mind for the post (Nick Ayers), the plans fell through, which has many of us questioning: who will be Trump's next chief of staff? Well, if reports are to be believed, it looks like there are a few more names in the running.
According to the Associated Press, those candidates reportedly include White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows. Other candidates could be Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and David Bossie, who previously served as Trump's deputy campaign manager. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for further comment on or confirmation of the reported candidates, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
CNN notes that Trump is reportedly particularly interested in Mulvaney because he is "press-friendly" and a "proven cable TV performer" (although sources told the outlet he isn't interested). But Trump also reportedly likes the successes Mnuchin has had in the finance world, and Meadows has staunchly backed the president in Congress. Lighthizer, on the other hand, worked with President Ronald Reagan and has close contacts with Senate Republicans, so that's also something worthy to Trump, per CNN. And some of Whitaker's stances, like his criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, closely align with those of the president, who has called the investigation a "witch hunt" on multiple occasions.
It previously seemed all but confirmed that Ayers, who is Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, would take over Kelly's position, as sources told CNN that Trump and Ayers have grown close over the past few months — but he declined.
Ayers also announced on Dec. 9 that he was leaving his position as Pence's chief of staff, but would still be working with Trump's re-election campaign. "Thank you [Trump], [Pence], and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House," he tweeted. "I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause. #Georgia"
Insiders later told CNN that Ayers declined the post because he and Trump could not agree to terms. But Trump pushed back on the claims that he was seriously considering Ayers, tweeting later on Dec. 9:
I am in the process of interviewing some really great people for the position of White House Chief of Staff. Fake News has been saying with certainty it was Nick Ayers, a spectacular person who will always be with our #MAGA agenda. I will be making a decision soon!
May whoever he chooses have a better go at things than Kelly. Over the course of his tenure, he and Trump reportedly butted heads on various occasions, including one time when Kelly allegedly got frustrated at the president's lack of policy knowledge and called him an "idiot" (which Kelly denied). Apparently, the relationship reportedly grew so strained that the two weren't on speaking terms as of Dec. 7, per CNN. The very next day, Dec. 8, Trump announced that Kelly would be leaving his post, and voilà — here we are. The White House did not respond to Elite Daily's email request for additional comment on Kelly's departure.
Hopefully, Trump will decide on a replacement for Kelly sooner rather than later. We'll see.