Pence aide out of running to be Trump's next chief of staff

Pence aide out of running to be Trump's next chief of staff
FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2017 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence, left, attends a meeting with Georgia opposition leaders in Tbilisi, Georgia. Chief of Staff to the Vice President, Nick Ayers, is right. Ayers, President Donald Trump's top pick to replace John Kelly as chief of staff, is no longer expected to fill that role, according to a White House official. The official says that Trump and Ayers could not agree on Ayers' length of service. (Zurab Kurtsikidze/Pool Photo via AP, File) (Zurab Kurtsikidze)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's top pick to replace chief of staff John Kelly, Nick Ayers, is no longer expected to fill the role.

Ayers, who is chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, was seen as the favorite for the job when Trump announced Saturday that Kelly would leave around year's end. But a White House official said Sunday that Trump and Ayers could not reach agreement on Ayers' length of service and that he would instead assist the president from outside the administration.

Ayers confirmed the decision in a tweet Sunday, thanking Trump and Pence for giving him the opportunity to work in the White House. "I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause," he said.

It was not immediately clear whether Trump had a new favorite for the post. The official was not authorized to discuss the personnel issue by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Ayers and Trump had discussed the job for months. The new hire was to be key to a West Wing reshuffling to shift focus toward the 2020 re-election campaign and the challenge of governing with Democrats in control of the House.

FILE - In a Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 file photo, Nick Ayers, right, listens as Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch waits for the arrival of the casket for former President George H.W. Bush to lie in State at the Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump's top pick to replace John Kelly as chief of staff, Nick Ayers, is no longer expected to fill that role, according to a White House official. The official says that Trump and Ayers could not agree on Ayers' length of service. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via AP, Pool, File)
FILE - In a Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 file photo, Nick Ayers, right, listens as Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch waits for the arrival of the casket for former President George H.W. Bush to lie in State at the Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump's top pick to replace John Kelly as chief of staff, Nick Ayers, is no longer expected to fill that role, according to a White House official. The official says that Trump and Ayers could not agree on Ayers' length of service. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via AP, Pool, File) (AP)

Trump wants his next chief of staff to hold the job through the 2020 election, the official said. Ayers, who has young triplets, had long planned to leave the administration at the end of the year, and had only agreed to serve in an interim basis through next spring.

Ayers will run a pro-Trump super PAC, according to a person familiar with his plans who was not authorized to discuss them by name.

In this June 21, 2018 photo, White House chief of staff John Kelly listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a lunch with governors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Trump says chief of staff John Kelly will leave his job at the end of the year.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
In this June 21, 2018 photo, White House chief of staff John Kelly listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a lunch with governors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Trump says chief of staff John Kelly will leave his job at the end of the year.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)

Trump said Saturday that he expected to announce a replacement for Kelly in a day or two.

With Ayers out of the running, Trump is considering four candidates for the post, including Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, according to a person familiar with the president's thinking. He is to make a decision by the end of the year, said the person, was not authorized to discuss the personnel issue by name.

In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, President Donald Trump walks in to the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, to talk about immigration and border security. Chief of Staff John Kelly is at right. Trump says chief of staff John Kelly will leave his job at the end of the year.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, President Donald Trump walks in to the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, to talk about immigration and border security. Chief of Staff John Kelly is at right. Trump says chief of staff John Kelly will leave his job at the end of the year.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (AP)

Kelly, whose last day on the job is set to be Jan. 2, had been credited with imposing order on a chaotic West Wing after his arrival in June 2017 from his post as homeland security secretary. But his iron first also alienated some longtime Trump allies, and over time he grew increasingly isolated, with an increasingly diminished role.

___

Graphic shows high profile staff changes in the Trump administration; 5c x 6 1/2 inches; 245.5 mm x 165 mm;
Graphic shows high profile staff changes in the Trump administration; 5c x 6 1/2 inches; 245.5 mm x 165 mm; (AP)

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

Follow Miller on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller

President Donald Trump talks to media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base en route to Philadelphia to attend the Army-Navy Football Game. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Donald Trump talks to media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base en route to Philadelphia to attend the Army-Navy Football Game. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP)
President Donald Trump greets people after arriving via Air Force One at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. Trump is attending the Army-Navy football game. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump greets people after arriving via Air Force One at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. Trump is attending the Army-Navy football game. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (AP)