December 11, 2018
Nick Ayers, who currently serves as chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence, has turned down the opportunity to do the same job for President Donald following John Kelley’s departs at the end of the year, Salon reported on December 10.
Had he accepted the position, Ayers would have been the third chief of staff to serve the POTUS in the Trump administration—following Reince Priebus (January 20, 2017-July 31, 2017) and John Kelly (July 31, 2017-present).
Ayers, who has worked for Pence since July 2017—and previously served as national chairman for the vice presidential campaign in 2016—is known as a savvy political strategist with many contacts on the Hill. Before his close association with the vice president, the 36-year-old power player—named in 2010 as one of TIME magazine’s most influential people in politics under the age of 40—was executive director of the Republican Governors Association from 2007 to 2010.
“Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House. I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause. #Georgia,” Ayers tweeted late on December 9
According to the Salon report, Trump himself alluded to the possibility that Ayers might not accept the job later the same evening, tweeting that “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!”
It is noteworthy, the news outlet said, that almost seven years ago, the president criticized President Barack Obama for running through three chiefs of staff in less than three years — Rahm Emanuel, Pete Rouse (who served as interim), Bill Daley and finally Jack Lew, who left at the end of Obama’s first term.
“3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why @Barack Obama can’t manage to pass his agenda,” Trump tweeted at the time. Yet once Kelly departs and is replaced, Trump will have a similar record for his own chiefs of staff.
Nevertheless, Ayers seems to be leaving the White House on good terms, with Pence tweeting on Sunday that “@nick_ayers has done an outstanding job as my Chief of Staff and I will always be grateful for his friendship, dedication to the @VP team and his efforts to advance the @POTUS agenda. Thank you Nick! Karen and I wish you, Jamie and the kids every blessing in the years ahead.”
Now that the president has been left in the lurch, several new candidates reportedly are under discussion—including Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney; Representative Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), the chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus; and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Research contact: @MatthewRozsa