President Trump has decided against making hardline conservative Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) his chief of staff, leaving the top White House role in flux.
“Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress. The President told him we need him in Congress so he can continue the great work he is doing there,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement to TPM.
Meadows, a leader of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, had been one of the few people who’d expressed public interest in the position after Trump unceremoniously announced current Chief of Staff John Kelly would be out by the end of the year. Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, had been viewed as a near-lock to replace him, but backed out just a day later, leaving Trump and his remaining aides scrambling for a replacement.
A number of other senior Republicans who were floated have indicated they aren’t interested in the job, and the White House has since said that Kelly may end up staying around for longer than Trump first announced.
Trump and Kelly have been on the outs for months, with rumors of Kelly’s ouster burbling since at least last summer. His impending ouster comes after Trump similarly cast out his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
The President’s rough treatment of both men and regular refusal to listen to their advice, combined with the looming release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 elections, have made this job seemingly much less appealing than it traditionally has been.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Trump had passed on Meadows.