Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Friday that he no longer wants to be considered for the role of President Donald Trump ‘s next chief of staff.
On Thursday, he met with Trump to discuss the possibility of taking the job, Axios reported. However, by Friday afternoon, Christie revealed that he’s decided to exit the pool of candidates.
“I’ve told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment,” Christie said in a statement, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
And again deleting clarifying earlier post, right statement this time – Christie was not offered the job, took himself out of running. pic.twitter.com/hIRUyIcHwh
– Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) December 14, 2018
Christie had not been offered the job. But he was a prime contender for the role, Axios reported Thursday, citing an unnamed source “familiar with the president’s thinking.”
Trump is looking for a new chief of staff to replace John Kelly, who is soon departing the post. The president said Thursday that he was considering five finalists for the role.
One hindrance for Christie could have been his relationship with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose father Christie prosecuted during his time as U.S. attorney for New Jersey.
Kushner is a candidate for the chief of staff job, HuffPost reported on Thursday. Trump and Kushner met on Wednesday for a conversation on the matter, and the current White House adviser is interested, a top Republican told HuffPost.
Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, was seen as Trump’s top pick for the position. But he decided to leave the White House instead.
On Sunday, Ayers thanked Trump, Pence “and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House,” adding, “I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause.”
Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House. I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause. 🇺🇸 #Georgia
– Nick Ayers (@nick_ayers) December 9, 2018
Christie’s background as a U.S. attorney could have proven useful to Trump during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia.
“My view would be that you’re not totally clear, nor is anyone, until Bob Mueller shuts down his office and hands in the keys,” Christie said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” He is currently a contributor for the network.
This article has been updated with news that Chris Christie took himself out of the running for White House chief of staff.