The mainstream media have made much of the fact that the vice president’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayers turned down President Donald Trump’s offer to be his chief of staff. The storyline is that nobody wants to work for Trump.
What the mainstream media only mentions in passing is that Ayers and his wife, who lives in Georgia, had triplets in 2012 and Ayers has repeatedly said that he was not going to work for the Trump administration long term.
Being the chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence is a pretty easy job. The vice president, according to the Constitution, has two jobs. One is as president of the Senate, where he can only vote in the case of tie, so that could be once or twice a year, or never. His other job is to be ready to take over if something happens to the president.
So the vice presidential chief of staff has to keep his phone on in case the Senate calls or in case the Secret Service calls with bad news. Otherwise the job consists of drinking a lot of coffee, naps on the office couch, long lunches and attending the funeral of anyone the president thinks is important enough to rate a representative from the White House, but not important enough for the president himself. So the vice presidential chief of staff, like the vice president, becomes an expert at funerals – how late you can arrive and not disrupt the ceremony and how early you can leave and not be rude. Ayers is a smart guy and probably has it timed down to the minute.
So Ayers, who by all accounts is doing an excellent job as vice presidential chief of staff, for obvious personal reasons would not want to make a two-year commitment to being White House chief of staff, which is a 24/7 job except, considering how much Trump works, it might be a little more than that.
I admire Ayers for his decision. He had to choose between a high profile job that would up his already considerable political capital and his family and a possible future as an elected official.
Ayers, at 36, is worth between $11 million and $54 million. Knowing how those estimates work it’s probably closer to the higher figure. So he’s done well as a political consultant and lobbyist. He’s already started and sold a number of consulting and lobbying firms. As a former White House chief of staff his value as a lobbyist would only go up.
But Ayers decided not to take an all encompassing job. Evidently the idea of seeing his triplets again when they were 8 years old didn’t appeal to him. It could also be that his wife agreed to allow him to pursue the work at the White House for a year or two, but was not willing to be a Washington widow, seeing her husband only on rare occasions when Trump was actually taking time off.
Ayers should be applauded for getting his priorities straight in a city and a building where the job comes first. According to the media, Ayers was not willing to make the commitment that Trump wanted and he had already made plans to leave his job as Pence’s chief of staff at the end of the year.
Ayers reportedly has his own political ambitions, and living in Georgia raising his kids makes a much better story if you’re running for governor of Georgia than being a candidate who has a Georgia voting address but lives and works in Washington.
Trump had reportedly made his decision to hire Ayers, so he was no doubt disappointed. But Trump has no problem making decisions. The mainstream media accuse Trump of making crucial decisions on the fly, but Trump’s background is in business, not politics. He’s accustomed to considering all the options, making a decision and moving forward. Because he doesn’t consult the media doesn’t mean he hasn’t been thinking about how to move forward and considering his choices. He doesn’t make decisions like a politician because he’s not a politician, and the media are used to working with politicians, not businessmen.
It appears Trump is doing what makes sense, going back to the list and looking at all the possible candidates – not compared to Ayers, but compared to each other.