‘Now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment…’
(Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News) Not even Chris Christie wants to be President Donald Trump’s gatekeeper.
The former New Jersey governor — who was twice snubbed from becoming Trump’s attorney general — took himself out of the running Friday from being considered as the next White House chief of staff.
“It’s an honor to have the President consider me as he looks to choose a new White House chief-of-staff,” Christie said in a statement. “However, I’ve told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment. As a result, I have asked him to no longer keep me in any of his considerations for this post.”
On Friday afternoon, Trump announced via Twitter that Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, would assume the role on an interim basis.
I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2018
Christie seemed a longshot from the get-go as his office would have been adjacent to that of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whose father Christie played a role in prosecuting. Kushner has also been rumored to be under consideration for the post.
Some have reported that Trump has struggled to find anyone willing to take on the thankless White House post since he announced John Kelly would be stepping down by the end of the year.
Nick Ayers, Vice President Pence’s chief of staff and Trump’s preferred candidate to replace Kelly, unexpectedly removed himself from consideration and announced he would also be leaving the White House by the end of the year to join a pro-Trump super PAC.
Nonetheless, Trump has insisted the process is moving along swimmingly.
“We’re interviewing people now for chief of staff,” the president told reporters Thursday, adding the short list is now down to “five people.”
“Really good ones,” he added. “Terrific people. Mostly well-known, but terrific people.”
In addition to Kushner, other candidates rumored to be under consideration for the senior White House post are former Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and communications director Bill Shine.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich also visited the White House recently, though he said it was just to look at the Christmas decorations.
Whoever ends up taking the gig will helm a White House in disarray.
The president is facing a flurry of legal headaches, including state and federal investigations into his administration, his campaign, his inaugural committee, his company and his namesake foundation.
Democrats, meanwhile, have for the first time since Trump took office started seriously broaching the possibility of impeachment in light of the president being implicated in at least two felonies as part of Michael Cohen’s guilty plea.
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.
©2018 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.