Ayers not taking job as White House chief of staff

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Nick Ayers, the leading candidate to replace John Kelly as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, will not be taking the job, a White House official told CNN Sunday.

Ayers, who has served as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff for more than a year, is not taking the position because the President and Ayers could not agree to terms, the official said. Trump pushed Ayers to commit to two years on the job, but he declined. He has young children, he told the President, and wants to move back to his home state of Georgia. He offered to become chief of staff temporarily, but Trump insisted on a two-year commitment.

However, in addition to the two-year commitment issue, there was also a huge internal resistance to Ayers being appointed, two sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

Ayers’ not taking the job came as a surprise since he had been lobbying for the position the sources said. There was resistance to him being appointed from first lady Melania Trump and some senior staff, the sources said.

Ayers, who has been considered a top contender to succeed Kelly for more than six months, will leave his position at the end of the year, announcing the move in a tweet on Sunday afternoon.

“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,” he wrote.

Ayers is expected to leave the Trump administration to run Trump’s America First super PAC, a source familiar with the matter said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Ayers would not be taking the job as Trump’s chief of staff.

Trump told reporters Saturday that Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general and Trump’s previous secretary of homeland security, will leave at the end of year.

CNN reported Friday that Kelly was expected to announce his departure in the coming days.

By Kaitlan Collins, Sophie Tatum and Jamie Gangel, CNN

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