When I wrote about the impending departure of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly I suggested that there were some impediments to putting the VP’s Chief of Staff, Nick Ayers, in his place. For one thing, there was no indication as to whether or not Ayers even wanted the job or if Mike Pence would be interested in letting him go. Also, the rest of the West Wing staff had reservations about him as well.
As the saying goes, that didn’t take long. Ayers has taken himself out of the running before there was even an official announcement that he was under consideration. (NY Post)
Nick Ayers, the 36-year-old chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, will not be taking the chief of staff job at the White House, according to a report Sunday.
Ayers had long been discussed as the individual who would replace John Kelly, who will be leaving by the end of the year. President Trump broke the news himself, telling reporters about Kelly’s exit as he left for the Army-Navy game on Saturday.
But the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Ayers and Trump couldn’t agree on a time frame, with the veep’s top aide — who is the father of 6-year-old triplets — only able to commit for the first few months of next year. Trump decided he wanted someone in the job for longer.
Is it totally crazy to suspect that Ayers is young and focused on his future and sees the CoS position with Trump as a dead end, possibly ending with a 2020 election defeat? (Let’s not pretend you weren’t all thinking it.) Pence may be a stronger figure to tie yourself to and Ayers has the additional, valid excuse that’s he’s got new triplets at home to take care of. For all I know he’s already talking to Nikki Haley about a CoS spot.
So if it’s not Ayers, who takes over the position? As I already said, I’m not even sure President Trump is all that interested in having a Chief of Staff. He might be more interested in controlling the circus himself. The New York Times is already speculating that it might be Steven Mnuchin, Mick Mulvaney or trade rep Robert Lighthizer instead.
It’s tough to see how Mnuchin or Mulvaney would want the job. They’re probably already counting their chips and seeing if their current jobs are safe. Lighthizer might be a possibility since he’s an outsider with a hard business background and an obvious taste for the game. I could possibly see that.
Let’s just roll the dice and suggest something else. Could Donald Trump be at the point where he’d appoint one of his own kids (or the spouse of one of his children) for the position? He obviously values loyalty above most other attributes, particularly if he feels that he’s living in a home filled with snakes. If it’s not one of his kids, it could be Jared Kushner. It’s not as if he needs Senate approval.
We’re all just spitballing here so I’m not betting the ranch on it. But it’s not the craziest suggestion on the board either.