By Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nick Ayers, Donald Trump’s top choice to be his next chief of staff, is no longer in the running and the U.S. president is now considering at least two other candidates, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday, the latest sign of a chaotic White House staff shake-up.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Republican Representative Mark Meadows, chairman of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, are among the possible contenders to replace current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, one source told Reuters.
Ayers, 36, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence and known as a skilled Republican political tactician, had been in discussions for months about taking the job, but was unable to agree to terms with Trump, another source said.
Ayers tweeted that he would instead be leaving the White House soon, apparently to return to his home state of Georgia. One of the sources said Ayers would return to “America First Policies,” a combative group that he helped found before joining Pence in the White House.
Several hours after the news broke, Trump essentially confirmed that Ayers would not get the job but offered few other details.
“I am 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 #MAGA agenda,” Trump said in a message on Twitter, referring to his slogan “Make America Great Again.” “I will be making a decision soon!”
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