Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, rumored to be President Donald Trump’s top pick to fill the chief of staff role once John Kelly exits later this year, said Friday that he’s asked Trump not to consider him for the post.
"It's an honor to have the President consider me as he looks to choose a new White House chief-of-staff," Christie said Friday in a statement first obtained by The New York Times. "However, I've told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment. As a result, I have asked him to no longer keep me in any of his considerations for this post."
Christie’s comments came one day after he met with Trump to discuss the position, CNN reported, citing a pair of sources familiar with the discussion. No job offer was made Thursday, according to CNN.
Trump announced Dec. 8 that Kelly, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general who served as Trump's Homeland Security secretary before becoming his chief of staff in July 2017, will leave at the end of the year.
Christie is one of several people to reportedly discuss the imminent chief of staff vacancy with Trump in recent days. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, was no longer in the running for the position, Politico reported.
“Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress,” Huckabee Sanders said in a statement obtained by Politico. “The President told him we need him in Congress, so he can continue the great work he is doing there.”
Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, had long been rumored to be Trump’s top pick for the job, but he declined to fill the role earlier this month. Ayers, 36, and Trump were unable to agree on a time frame for the job, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, with Ayers unwilling to commit to the role deep into next year.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters Friday that, while Kelly is slated to leave at the end of the year, “if the president and the chief of staff make another deal and extend it, they can do that,” the New York Post reported.
“It’s their prerogative to do so,” Gidley said. “Right now, currently, John Kelly is expected to leave at the first of the year.”