After more than a year of premature media reports speculating wildly about White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s impending departure, President Donald Trump finally announced his assistant’s resignation during an impromptu press conference on the White House lawn on Saturday morning — leaving reporters scrambling to determine who would take up the key role.
According to a report from Axios, at least one person on the president’s shortlist is known: Republican North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows.
Citing three unnamed sources with “direct knowledge” of the president’s search for a new chief of staff, Jonathan Swan reported that Meadows was one of four candidates being seriously considered for the incredibly important post. The other candidates were not named in his report.
Meadows currently serves as the chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and is considered to be a strong ally of the Trump administration who is fully on board with the MAGA agenda.
VP chief of staff Ayers out of consideration
Prior to Meadows being considered for the role of chief of staff, it was Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, who appeared to be the front-funner for the position, as he was well-liked by both Pence and Trump, had the support of Trump’s son-in-law adviser Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump, and is most certainly supportive of the president’s agenda.
But it was rumored that Ayers only wanted to be Trump’s chief of staff on a temporary basis — only for a few months until the spring — while the president is said to want a chief of staff that will serve at least the next two years, until after the 2020 election.
That more or less removed Ayers from the running, and it Ayers has since announced that he intends to leave the administration at the end of this year to run a pro-Trump America First group in the lead-up to the next presidential election.
Meadows a “skilled brawler” in support of MAGA agenda
As for Meadows, Politico reported that he would be a “skilled brawler” for the White House that wouldn’t shy away from political fights, understands intimately how Congress and the legislative and committee investigation processes work, and is a staunch supporter of the MAGA agenda.
Those characteristics are key as Trump faces the next two years of Democratic opposition in the House ahead of his re-election bid.
Asked for his response to his name being floated as a potential replacement for Kelly, Meadows told Politico: “Serving as Chief of Staff would be an incredible honor. The President has a long list of qualified candidates and I know he’ll make the best selection for his administration and for the country.”
Meadows seems to have the support of White House staffers, too. One unnamed White House official told Politico that Meadows would “have a keen sense of what to do, what groups to engage with, what events to hold, going into a hyper political time. He also knows oversight better than most. Going into a Democratic House takeover, he would know tools Republicans have at their disposal to push back on Democrats better than anyone.”
Still, Meadows is just one of many qualified candidates for the job.
Trump’s final choice for chief of staff is still undetermined.