President Trump met Thursday evening with former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and is considering him to replace John Kelly as Chief of Staff, Axios reported Friday.
Christie, who briefly lead the Trump transition team and was considered for attorney general, is one among a list of contenders that includes David Bossie, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, and acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker. Among the remaining contenders, Trump is reportedly partial to Christie, whose legal experience he believes will prove valuable in the coming year.
“He’s tough; he’s an attorney; he’s politically savvy, and one of Trump’s early supporters,” a source “familiar with the president’s thinking” told Axios.
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were also under consideration but have said they are not interested.
Nick Ayers, Vice president Mike Pence’s chief of staff, was considered the favorite following last week’s announcement of Kelly’s impending departure but withdrew his name from consideration and said he will instead leave the administration in the coming year to run the president’s 2020 election super PAC.
After being passed over for the attorney general position and being removed from the transition team by former White House adviser Steve Bannon, Christie has remained loyal to the president, defending his administration during regular appearances on cable news.