Editor of Commentary and New York Post columnist John Podhoretz is not buying Nick Ayer's claim that he wants to spend more time with family and therefore will not be taking over White House chief-of-staff John Kelly's job.
But a White House official said on Sunday that Mr Trump and Mr Ayers could not reach agreement on Mr Ayers' length of service and that he would instead assist the president from outside the administration. He is heading to an outside group, "I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause".
Trump wants his next chief of staff to hold the job through the 2020 election, said the White House official, who was not authorized to discuss the personnel issue by name and, as did others, spoke on condition of anonymity. Trump pushed Ayers to commit to two years on the job, but he declined.
Kelly's departure will come as the Democrats' takeover of the House of Representatives and the new revelations from Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe are emboldening Trump's political opposition.
According to White House officials, Kelly's influence waned over the last few months with the president undermining the authority that he had established in getting the White House in order.
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On Friday, Trump said he is nominating William Barr for attorney general, and Heather Nauert for United Nations ambassador. Milley who holds degrees from Princeton University and Columbia University, is known to be liked by Trump.
Meanwhile, Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he is interviewing other people.
Trump says in a tweet that he'll be making a decision "soon".
By most accounts, Trump and Mulvaney have excellent working and personal relationships and the president is reportedly impressed by his OMB's director hard work, loyalty and ability to defend the administration's budget policy before the White House press corps.
"There's been very little controversy, which is really wonderful by itself", Trump said, praising Kelly's role in implementing his policies at DHS.
When Kelly was picked in July 2017 to replace Priebus, he inherited a White House plagued by political intrigue and internal disorder, and under a cloud because of the allegations of collusion with Russian Federation.
But his iron first also alienated some longtime Trump allies, and he grew increasingly isolated, with a gradually diminished role in recent months.
"You're not going to be a good chief of staff if you can't speak truth to power".