Nick Ayers, who had been considered the favorite to take over as White House chief of staff, will not be taking the job after failing to reach an agreement with President Trump, multiple senior White House officials tell CBS News — forcing Mr. Trump to look at other possible names.
Ayers, currently Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, is leaving the administration to take a job at a pro-Trump super PAC.
The president is now considering four other contenders for the role, a senior White House official says. The need for a new chief of staff arose after Mr. Trump abruptly announced Saturday that current chief of staff John Kelly will be leaving the administration “at the end of the year,” a move he made without mentioning it once at a dinner with senior staff the night before, according to a senior administration official.
Ayers’ decision not to take the job prolongs the president’s replacement of Kelly, which he was set to announce this week. Instead, Mr. Trump’s decision will now be announced by the end of the year. Mr. Trump has considered Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney in recent weeks, CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett reported last month.
In a late tweet Sunday night, Mr. Trump said, “I am in the process of interviewing some really great people” for the chief of staff role and he “will be making a decision soon!”
Mr. Trump and Ayers,, had been negotiating possible terms for the job. Sources said Ayers offered to serve as interim chief of staff, but Mr. Trump wanted him to commit to serving for least two years, which Ayers declined. The 36-year-old father of three young triplets will instead move back to his native Georgia, as he had long planned before the chief of staff job opened up.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Ayers was out of the running. Ayers confirmed his departure from the administration in a tweet.
“Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House,” Ayers tweeted. “I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause.#Georgia.”