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Trump’s List of Chief of Staff Candidates Is … Woof

John Kelly and Nick Ayers are both leaving the administration, and Trump could be turning to a New York Yankees executive to fill the vacancy

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks on the South Lawn towards Marine One prior to a departure from the White House August 29, 2017.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks on the South Lawn towards Marine One prior to a departure from the White House August 29, 2017.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Saturday that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will be leaving the administration by the year’s end. The new is not surprising. The president has already jettisoned dozens of top officials, and it had long been rumored that Trump and Kelly’s relationship had soured. Nick Ayers, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, had been Trump’s top choice to replace Kelly. According to the New York Times, the White House had even drafted a press release announcing Ayers’ appointment. On Sunday, however, Ayers announced that he, too, will be leaving the administration at the end of the year. “Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House,” he wrote. “I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause #Georgia.”

Trump blamed the Fake News.

Ayers’ departure has put the White House in a difficult position as, according to the Times, Trump had “no obvious second option” for the critical job. The new list of potential candidates hasn’t been inspiring, and several of the officials who have been linked to the position have rebuffed the suggestion that they might be interested. Among those who reportedly aren’t tripping over themselves to replace Kelly are Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), one of the Trump’s most enthusiastic defenders in Congress, has also been mentioned. Kelly was criticized for lacking the political savvy necessary to manage the White House, and Meadows would ostensibly be able to help the president navigate the onslaught of congressional investigations expected to be launched once Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in January. He also seems interested in the job. “Serving as Chief of Staff would be an incredible honor,” he told Politico. “The President has a long list of qualified candidates and I know he’ll make the best selection for his administration and for the country.”

According to NBC News, Trump’s “long list of qualified candidates” includes Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general with a Trump-ian penchant for fraud; David Bossie, Trump’s deputy campaign manager in 2016; and Randy Levine, the president of the New York Yankees. Levine served under both Ronald Reagan and Rudy Giuliani, but is long removed from politics outside of contributing the occasional opinion piece to Newsmax. Last November, he wrote a column criticizing Trump’s tax reform plan. “The good news is there is still time to fix it and make it better and more efficient,” the baseball executive wrote. “But as Yogi Berra said, Mr. President, ‘it is getting late early.'”

Levine has already thrown water on the idea that he would relocate to Washington. “I have spoken to nobody about the chief of staff job,” he told Fox News. “I have great respect for the president but am very happy being president of the Yankees.”

Regardless of who takes the role, it will be Trump’s third chief of staff in less than two years. This probably isn’t a good sign, as the president himself pointed out back in 2012.

There’s a tweet for everything.

In This Article: Donald Trump


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