President Donald Trump has ruled out North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows in his search to replace outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.
“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,” Sanders said in a statement to multiple news organizations. (Related: HERE’S WHO’S IN THE MIX TO REPLACE JOHN KELLY)
Meadows later released a statement of his own confirming the news, saying:
I’ve had the best job in the world, representing the people of western [North Carolina] and working alongside Pres. Trump these last two years to give the forgotten men and women of America a voice in their government. I’m fully committed to continuing in both of those roles. I know the president has a long list of tremendous candidates for his next Chief of Staff, and whomever it is will have my total support moving forward.
Meadows was originally seen as a top contender for the chief of staff role with Trump, having developed a strong working relationship with Meadows in his position as the House Freedom Caucus chairman.
Meadows has also served as a forceful critic of special counsel Robert Mueller and has called for continued inquiry into the past FBI probe of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Trump announced Kelly’s departure Saturday after intense media speculation, indicating at the time that he would be making the succession announcement in the coming days. Sources familiar with the situation originally expected that Nick Ayers, the vice presidential chief of staff, would assume the position, but he has since bowed out from consideration.