Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) declined the White House chief of staff role on Friday, making him the latest high-profile candidate who's no longer in the running for the influential post.
Christie and President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE reportedly met Thursday evening to discuss the role of replacing current chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, who will be departing by the end of the year.
“It’s an honor to have the President consider me as he looks to choose a new White House chief-of-staff,” Christie wrote in a statement shared by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times on Friday. “However, I’ve told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment. As a result, I have asked not to be considered for this post.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The effort to name Kelly's replacement suffered a setback earlier this week when Trump's initial top pick for the job — Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Vice President Pence — turned down the offer.
A few days later, Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsGraham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Allies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan MORE (R-N.C.), the outgoing chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, was out of the running after having a discussion with Trump, who told him that he's needed in Congress to help defend the administration, according to a White House official.
Trump said Thursday that he was down to five finalists for the position, adding that the candidates were “mostly well known” and “terrific people.” On Friday evening, hours after Christie ruled out serving in the position, Trump named White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE as his acting chief of staff.
"I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration," Trump wrote on Twitter.
I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2018
Mulvaney is slated to take over at least temporarily as Trump's third chief of staff in less than two years. Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusWisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Democrats claim vindication, GOP cries witch hunt as McGahn finally testifies MORE left the post in the summer of 2017.
Trump announced last Saturday that Kelly, who was picked for the post in July 2017, would be leaving the White House by the end of the year.
Former Trump campaign adviser David Bossie, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryRepublicans are the 21st-century Know-Nothing Party College football move rocks Texas legislature Trump tries to spin failed Texas endorsement: 'This was a win' MORE are said to among those under consideration, according to multiple news reports.
Bossie and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who recently co-authored a book, were slated to meet with Trump at the White House on Friday.
Christie was one of Trump’s opponents during the GOP presidential primary in 2016. He later endorsed Trump after dropping out.
He then served as an adviser during the campaign and headed up the transition team.
Updated at 5:43 p.m.