By Robert Costa
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, greets reporters on Dec. 7. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
December 12 at 4:53 PM
President Trump told Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) on Wednesday that he would like Meadows, one of his top congressional allies, to remain on Capitol Hill instead of being considered for White House chief of staff, according to White House officials.
The president’s request shakes up the scramble to fill the top job in the West Wing, removing a leading contender from the shortlist.
“Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress. The President told him we need him in Congress so he can continue the great work he is doing there,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement to The Washington Post.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the president’s decision.
Trump is scrambling to find a new chief of staff after ousting John F. Kelly from the job over the weekend. His first choice for the job, Vice President Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers, turned the president down Sunday.
Trump was intrigued by the idea of Meadows as chief of staff and told allies he could help him fight against a Democratic House next year. He also has told advisers he would be good on TV as a “warrior” for the Trump agenda.
Some White House officials questioned whether Meadows had enough management experience for the post — and whether he would curb some of the president’s sharpest impulses.
Meadows has met with a number of Trump allies in recent days to gauge what the job would entail — and whether he should take it if offered, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The removal of Meadows from contention leaves a panoply of other potential contenders, including acting attorney general Matt Whitaker, whom Trump praised as he sat next to him Saturday at the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia Saturday, according to people familiar with the exchange.
Trump claimed Tuesday that there were 10 or more contenders for the job, althoug a number of high-profile possibilities have bowed out of contention in recent days.
Source: The Washington Post