After several of his top choices turned down the position, President Donald Trump has found a new White House chief of staff.
On Friday evening, Trump tweeted that Mick Mulvaney, who is already the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would be his interim White House chief of staff.
While serving in Trump’s administration, the former South Carolina congressman who was part of the 2010 “Tea Party wave” has suddenly embraced deficits, criticized his own OMB to justify a $2 trillion error by the White House, gutted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, sabotaged restrictions on predatory lenders, advocated for restoring funding to nations that criminalize homosexuality, and admitted that he sold access to lobbyists.
When the president recently announced that White House chief of staff John Kelly would be stepping down by the end of the year — after months of speculation — it appeared as though there would be no shortage of suitors.
White House chief of staff is usually one of the most coveted roles in any administration. Previous chiefs of staff have gone on to become vice president, secretary of state, secretary of defense, treasury secretary, CIA director, members of Congress, Chicago mayor, and a convicted felon.
But the president, whose administration is about to face Democratic oversight for the first time, was apparently having trouble finding a replacement.
The decision to force Kelly out was reportedly championed by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner — the president’s oldest daughter and son-in-law, both White House advisers — who wanted Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, to assume the role.
Ayers’ promotion would have been viewed “inside the White House as a coup” for Trump and Kushner, and proof that they were “running the building.”
There was just one problem: Ayers didn’t want the job.
Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House. I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause. 🇺🇸 #Georgia
— Nick Ayers (@nick_ayers) December 9, 2018
Ayers’ decision was “a humiliation for Mr. Trump and his adult children, an emotion that the president tries to avoid at all costs,” one former senior Trump White House official told the New York Times.
The departures of Kelly and Ayers came days after the president’s own Justice Department implicated Trump in directing a felony committed by his former attorney.
But Meadows’ dream didn’t last too long.
Confirmed: Mark Meadows out of running for CoS@PressSec statement: "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."
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) December 12, 2018
Then former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who hasn’t held public office in over a decade, ruled himself out.
Trump was reportedly even considering Kushner for the position at one point.
It got so bad that former baseball player Jose Canseco offered his services to his former boss from The Apprentice.
Hey little buddy @realDonaldTrump u need a bash brother for Chief if Staff. Got a secret reorg plan already. Also worried about you looking more like a Twinkie everyday. I will buff you up daily workouts. DM me. #yeswecanseco
— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) December 13, 2018
But on Friday afternoon, it finally appeared as though someone with actual experience in government was willing to take the job, as reports emerged that former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), the chairman of Trump’s presidential transition team, was the front-runner.
Less than an hour later, Christie — who left office with the lowest approval rating of any governor in decades — withdrew from consideration.
Trump will now have three chiefs of staff in less than two years.
3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why @BarackObama can't manage to pass his agenda.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2012