President Donald Trump is having a difficult time finding a replacement willing to replace John Kelly as the White House chief of staff.
Trump announced that Kelly would be leaving the position at the end of the year.
“John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year,” Trump told reporters at the White House Saturday. "I appreciate his service very much.”
Kelly was expected to be replaced by Nick Ayers, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence.
After reports began to swirl that Ayers did not want the position, Ayers put the rumors to bed on Twitter by announcing that he is also planning to leave the administration.
“Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House,” Ayers wrote. “I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause.”
Ayers is expected to join a pro-Trump Super PAC ahead of the 2020 election.
After Ayers dropped out, all eyes turned to White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, but Politico’s Nancy Cook reported that he is no longer interested in the job.
She added that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are “sending out the same signals” after they were floated as potential replacements.
Possible desperation pick emerges: With officials inside the administration reportedly unwilling to take the job, Axios reported that Trump may consider Rep. Mark Meadows, the head of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, for the position.
The move was immediately panned.
“A chief-of-staff who encourages Trump to triple-down on an all-base, all-the-time strategy might be almost as bad for Trump as a chief-of-staff who encourages him to carry out the bidding of Jared & Ivanka,” wrote FiveThirtyEight editor Nate Silver. “Meadows would be such a terrible choice that you almost wonder whether his name has been leaked to make the actual (mediocre?) choice look better by comparison.”
No one wants the job: “Bottom line for WH CoS is willingness to accept the job at this point proves a disqualifying lack of political judgment,” Bloomberg writer Jonathan Bernstein wrote.