President Donald Trump's top pick to replace chief of staff John Kelly, Nick Ayers, apparently took himself out of the running for the job Sunday. Several aides told the president, however, that they would quit if he were chosen, according to the Politico website.
Trump announced Saturday that Kelly would leave around year's end.
Trump wants his next chief of staff to hold the job through the 2020 election, the official said.
Other potentials on Trump's shortlist include Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, a leader of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, according to the Post. Sources said he would be joining a political action committee.
Ayers and Trump had discussed the job for months.
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One source said Mr. Trump had sought a two-year commitment from Mr. Ayers but that he was unable to agree to that. Ayers backing out will slightly delay Mr. Trump's decision, which will now be announced by the end of the year instead of this week.
"I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause", he wrote on Twitter, in a reference to Mr. Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again".
Priebus and Kelly both struggled to impose order on an impetuous president and an unruly, factionalised White House. Kelly had some early successes and was often labeled one of the "grown-ups" whose job was to keep the increasingly frenetic president in check.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump had a new favorite for the post.
Reports suggested that Kelly's resignation is due to a stalemate in his relationship with Trump.