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New Chief of Staff Tops Trump's Christmas Wish List - These Names Have Been Floated

12-11-2018
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It's only two weeks until Christmas and President Trump has quite the shopping list. At the top, a new chief of staff. 

The president's first choice turned him down, but Trump tweeted Tuesday that, "Many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position." 

The position is seen as one of powerful influence. But in this White House, part of the job requirment may include the approval of Trump family members.

The chief of staff is a highly desired job in Washington – perhaps the second most powerful position after the president. That's because he or she is the gatekeeper who sets the presidential agenda, manages the White House staff and decides who gets access to president.

So, who will the president choose to replace his outgoing chief, General John Kelly? The president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner weighed in.

"The president will make the right choice for chief of staff when he's ready and hopefully help choose somebody that he has got great chemistry with, great relationship with who will help him navigate the next couple of years," explained Kushner.

And perhaps great chemistry with Trump family members, especially daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared. Trump critics say they have a lot of influence because the president wants the White House to run like a family business.

The Kushners reportedly supported Vice President Mike Pence's 36-year-old Chief of Staff Nick Ayers, but Ayers turned down the job for Trump. Now, the Trump team is actively seeking a replacement before Kelly departs at the end of the year.

Several names have been mentioned, but so far no takers. Among them is US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. "I haven't spoken to anyone, I'm entirely focused on what I'm trying to do and it's difficult enough," he said.

Another contender is Republican Congressman Mark Meadows. He's worked aggressively to uncover the facts in House investigations of the FBI and Clinton email scandals. Meadows was asked if he would accept the job if offered.

"I will say this. Because it's an honor, certainly I'm favorably inclined to at least have a discussion with the president," Meadows said. 

Others reportedly on Trump's list: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and former Deputy Campaign Director David Bossie.

As the White House sorts out a replacement for Kelly, one piece of good news for the president is the likely confirmation of William Barr as the next attorney general. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he'll fight for Barr's approval. "He's been confirmed three times. He's been the former attorney general for Bush 41, the deputy attorney general in charge of the criminal division. Each time he's been confirmed by voice vote. There's never been a recorded vote because he's that highly qualified," said Graham.

With a possible government shutdown just 11 days away, the president meets with congressional Democrats at the White House today. This morning he tweeted he's looking forward to meeting with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) about funding for his border wall.

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