Chief of staff to a president used to be one the most sought-after jobs in all of politics. But now that that president is Donald Trump, no one even wants the job, according to the mainstream media.
“’There was no Plan B’: Trump scrambles to find chief of staff after top candidate turns him down,” read the headline on the Washington Post. “After Ayers Turns Down Chief of Staff Job, Trump Is Left Without a Plan B,” the New York Times wrote.
“President Trump Is Scrambling to Find a New Chief of Staff,” wrote Time magazine.
New Yorker magazine wrote that “Trump Boasts at Least 10 Americans Willing to Take Job as His Chief of Staff,” in its headline. But the story focused on how hard the task appears to be.
“Of all the positions one can have working for Trump,” wrote Jonathan Chait, “there is none more predetermined to fail than chief of staff (The sole possible exception is ‘wife.’)”
Politico noted Trump’s tweet on the subject, which read: “Fake News has it purposely wrong. Many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position. Why wouldn’t someone want one of the truly great and meaningful jobs in Washington? Please report news correctly. Thank you!”
The stories emerged after John Kelly, the current chief, announced he was leaving at the end of the year, and Nick Ayers, a Georgia political operative who is now Vice-President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, turned down the job and himself announced he was leaving to take over a pro-Trump PAC.
Why wouldn’t people in Washington want the job of senior political adviser to a president? Trump, of course, according to the media.
“ … there are fears in Washington that while the chief of staff position was once a springboard to higher power, Trump’s divisiveness and his refusal to be corralled has corroded the reputation of the president’s top adviser,” wrote Politico’s Caitlin Oprysko under “Trump denies that he’s having trouble finding a chief of staff.”
“In any White House, the chief of staff is arguably the most punishing position,” wrote Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Robert Costa of the Washington Post. “But in this White House – a den of disorder ruled by an impulsive president – it has proved to be an especially thankless job. The two people to hold the job were left with their reputations diminished after failing to constrain the president, who often prefers to function as his own chief of staff.”
The problem is that “Trump’s chief of staff is tasked with forcing him to do the job of president when his preference is to binge-watch Fox News and gab on the phone with assorted kooks, most of whom are also from Fox News,” Chait wrote. “The chief of staff is thrust into the role of stern, disapproving governess, while paradoxically having to treat his ward like a great man of history. The contradictions between Trump’s irrepressible infantilism and the need to conceal it leads Trump to humiliate whomever holds the position.”
Maggie Haberman of the New York Times wrote Sunday that Trump was stung by Ayers’ turning down the job because he had no Plan B and saw in Ayers something of his younger self.
“With a head of blond hair, Mr. Ayers somewhat resembles Mr. Trump in his younger days, a fact that the president often looks for as a positive signal,” Haberman wrote. “The president had an unusual affinity for Mr. Ayers, telling aides who expressed concern about Mr. Ayers that he liked him.”