Pence aide Ayers will not be White House chief of staff

Nick Ayers will not become White House chief of staff, according to a White House official, dealing President Trump a setback in his effort to find a successor to John Kelly. 
Ayers, a Republican operative who serves as chief of staff to Vice President Pence, instead plans to leave the administration at year’s end to work for a pro-Trump super PAC. 
Trump intends to make a decision on a new chief of staff by the end of the month, when Kelly also plans to leave his post, the official said. 
Ayers was widely seen as the frontrunner to succeed Kelly, but he could not come to an agreement with Trump about the terms of his service. 
The president wanted Ayers to make a long-term commitment to the job. But the 36-year-old aide was unwilling to commit to anything more than an interim role, expressing a desire to return to his home state of Georgia with his wife and children, according to a person familiar with the situation. 
Ayers later announced his move in a Twitter post. 

{mosads}”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.”

The surprise decision throws Trump’s search for a new top aide into limbo as he enters 2019 confronting an intensifying investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, as well as a Democratic House majority eager to do battle with Trump. 
Trump is now said to be picking from a list of four candidates. Outgoing House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have been mentioned in media reports as other potential choices. 
Other reports have indicated Trump may consider people from outside the administration for the role. 
Trump tweeted late Sunday that he is “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 agenda,” he said. “I will be making a decision soon!”


The president announced on Saturday that Kelly would exit as chief of staff by the end of the year, ending a tumultuous 17-month tenure during which Kelly lost his ability to impose order in a chaotic White House.

Trump’s next chief of staff will be his third in roughly three years in office, a sign of the high rate of staff turnover that has plagued the administration for months. 
Ayers’s decision was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. 
Tags Donald Trump John Kelly Mark Meadows Mick Mulvaney Robert Lighthizer

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