Donald Trump's search for a successor to outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly reached a sad new low point Tuesday night when former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) became the latest candidate to publicly reject the post, and did so live on CNN.
"Why wouldn't someone want one of the truly great and meaningful jobs in Washington?"
While Nick Ayers, the 36-year-old political consultant and chief of staff under Vice President Mike Pence, would have appeared to be quite the change from Kelly, whose military mindset has been questioned when it comes to politics, Ayers announced on December 9 he'd also be out at the year's end. "Many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position".
"Fake News has it purposely wrong", he tweeted.
"A war room? You serious?" one former White House official said when asked about internal preparations.
Mr Ayers' announcement that he had chose to leave the White House surprised even senior staffers who believed his ascension to become Mr Trump's chief of staff was a done deal. "And it's a personal decision for the president", she told reporters.
White House chief of staff is widely acknowledged to be a demanding job in the best of circumstances. We have a lot of people who want the job of chief of staff.
Trump's administration has set records for staff turnover, and he has often struggled to attract experienced political professionals, a challenge that has grown more hard by the upcoming threat of costly Democratic oversight investigations and an uncertain political environment.
"President Trump Is Scrambling to Find a New Chief of Staff", wrote Time magazine.
Other possible contenders, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney have said they are not interested, sources said. He and Trump also could not agree on Ayers' length of service. He's considering a number of candidates to replace Kelly, including Representative Mark Meadows and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, but no clear favorite has yet emerged.