>> Mr. President.>> President Donald Trump's top choice to replace his outgoing chief of staff John Kelly, will not be taking the job. Trump wanted Nick Ayers, who served as Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, to take the role. A source telling Reuters Ayers had been in duscussions for months over the position, but was unable to agree to terms with Trump.
In a tweet Sunday, Ayers thanked Trump and Pence for letting him serve the administration, but said I will be departing at the end of the year. Trump announced last week that John Kelly would be leaving the White House.>> John Kelly will be leaving, I don't know if I could say retiring but he's a great guy.
>> The former Marine general took the job in 2017, with a mandate to bring order to the often chaotic executive. Kelly said he planned to stay in the role through the 2020 election, but repeatedly clashed with the President and members of Trump's family. A source telling Reuters the two men were no longer on speaking terms.
Trump saying Kelly will step down at the end of the year. Kelly, along with former National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary, James Mattis, made up a trio sometimes described as Trump's generals. Picked for the stars on their collars, and painted in reports as the responsible adults in the administration.
Kelly's exit leaves just Mattis of the original three, and raises new doubts about the tenure of DHS secretary Kristjen Nielsen, seen as a Kelly protege. The question now turning to who will take the job managing a President who doesn't much like to be managed.>> Has anyone at the White House talked to you about Chief of Staff?
>> No.>> U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sunday saying he was happy in his current role, and had not been approached about the position. A source telling Reuters that candidates under consideration, include Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Republican representative Mark Meadows, a staunch ally of the president on issues such as immigration.
>> Well, we do have to protect our borders, we're a nation of laws and->> The constant staff upheaval at all levels has left Trumps White House grappling to try and advance his agenda. And the change-up comes as pressure continues to mount from criminal probes into the President's former aides and business associates.
And with a 2020 re-election campaign looming ever closer.