On Friday, former New Jersey Governor and McDonald’s manservant Chris Christie announced that he would not accept the job of chief of staff in the Trump White House, apparently throwing the process into chaos once more. Christie had reportedly met with Trump on Thursday evening, and Trump was interested in Christie joining the administration to replace General John Kelly. Christie stated, “It’s an honor to have the President consider me as he looks to choose a new White House chief-of-staff. 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.”
Chris Christie is not currently employed. He has no young children. He’s got a new book coming out next year, but that’s pretty much it. Yet he’s now removed his name from consideration — or at least he's pretending that he did. The man did take a train down to D.C. to interview for the job.
Nonetheless, this makes him the second major persona to avoid the placement, after vice presidential chief of staff Nick Ayers turned it down. The chief of staff job is, in other words, a pretty thankless one.
In any case, Christie would have posed serious problems inside the West Wing as chief of staff. Aside from his penchant for humoring Trump’s every request, he’s sharply at odds with Trump’s current top advisor, Jared Kushner — as a federal prosecutor, he went after Kushner’s father.
Rumors have been flying that Trump might appoint Kushner to the post. In reality, Kushner has been operating largely as Trump’s chief of staff already; there’s a reason that Trump has been pushing criminal justice reform, for example. Kushner knows Trump better than anyone else in the White House except for Ivanka Trump; he’s been his point man on issues ranging from Saudi Arabia to China; he has Trump’s trust. But the issue of a family-run White House poses a potential public relations threat to Trump should he pick a relative to fill the chief of staff position. After all, Trump isn’t a Kennedy, appointing his brother to the Attorney General position, or a Clinton, having his wife run for Senate while he sits in the Oval Office.
There is one real solution that would end the chaos and hubbub for now: Trump should simply announce that he will be operating without a chief of staff. In reality, he always has. Kelly was never able to prevent Trump from talking to members of the administration Kelly wanted to block. Trump would simply end around his chief of staff, just as he ignored former chief of staff Reince Priebus. Trump keeps his own counsel, and he could continue to run the Oval Office as he sees fit without a formal yes-man to organize the comings and goings. All Trump really needs is a social secretary anyway. The country would shrug at such an announcement — Trump handles things himself on a regular basis rather than delegating — and move on. And this also avoids the bad publicity surrounding the ongoing chief of staff search.