The saga of senior staff turnover inside the Trump administration is continuing. Days after President Donald Trump announced that chief of staff John Kelly would leave his position before the end of the year, it remains unclear who’s going to fill the position next. New York Yankees president Randy Levine shot down reporting suggesting he was close to taking on the role, insisting this week that he’s not interested.
He told Fox News:
‘I have spoken to nobody about the chief of staff job. I have great respect for the President but am very happy being president of the Yankees.’
Levine has worked in government before, and he’s also long been a supporter of President Trump. Under President Ronald Reagan, he filled roles at the Justice Department including principal associate deputy attorney general and principal deputy attorney general, and he served as deputy mayor for economic development in New York City under Rudy Giuliani, who’s gone from ardently supporting the president to serving as Trump’s often questionable lawyer.
Still, he’s not interested.
Others who’ve been named as under consideration include the House Freedom Caucus’s Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, past deputy Trump campaign manager David Bossie, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
A number of those named, however, have reportedly not exactly been keen on the possibility of standing next to the president — literally and metaphorically — for the indefinite future. Mnuchin, Mulvaney, and Meadows have all been reported to “have a hard time getting to ‘yes’ if asked.”
That leaves just Bossie and Whitaker, both of whom are avid partisans — Bossie serves as a Fox News contributor, while Whitaker was Trump’s pick to serve as acting Attorney General after he pushed out Jeff Sessions. Whitaker has routinely pushed ideas like that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is leading a “lynch mob” — making Trump’s take on him no doubt all the more rosy.
Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers had long been reported as on his way to the position, but he backed out at the last minute. Trump wanted Ayers to commit to serving for two years, but he refused, citing a desire to be more free to spend time with his family.
Whoever serves next, it’ll be the third chief of staff in about two years for the Trump administration, underscoring the challenges anyone who would try to manage the West Wing faces.
A source commented to NBC News:
‘You have a six-year chair of the RNC [Reince Priebus] and a four-star combat Marine [Kelly] who couldn’t get out soon enough. Both guys got ground up. The outcome [of taking the chief of staff job] is impossible for any person. And when you add the kids [Jared and Ivanka] that don’t have a defined role, it makes it even more impossible. History has already predetermined the next guy’s fate.’
Besides the organizational mishaps waiting to happen, Trump’s administration also continues to face substantive challenges like the Russia investigation — and the president hasn’t exactly proven keen on respecting counsel.
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