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December 14, 2018

Chris Christie, reported lead for White House chief of staff, says he took himself out of the running

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a purchaser of tax-funded $85,000 self-portraits and goer-to of closed beaches, reportedly has informed President Donald Trump that he was not interested in becoming White House chief of staff.

A report from Bloomberg had named Christie as the top candidate to fill the role left vacant by John Kelly, whose resignation was announced last week. Friday afternoon, however, Christie told a New York Times reporter he had taken himself out of the running.

"I've told the president that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment," Christie said.

Christie and President Donald Trump reportedly met Thursday at the White House, though Trump reportedly plans to meet with others for the job over the next couple of days. His top pick for the role, Vice President Mike Pence's Chief of Staff Nick Ayers, turned down the offer.

Bloomberg had pointed out that Christie's experience as a U.S. attorney would come in handy as Trump faces multiple public investigations, though Christie's previous role in prosecuting Charles Kushner, father to Jared Kushner, could have complicated their political relationship. (Kushner is also said to be getting consideration.)

Christie has also spoken critically of the president during his tenure so far, commenting on the president's ongoing staff turnovers and legal issues as problems that may be too great to overcome. Christie also publicly stated that Trump's comments following the violence in Charlottesville last year were a mistake.

Christie's decision Friday comes after he was removed as lead on the Trump transition team after Trump's 2016 election. The news also comes after Christie, who was on the short list for attorney general, was passed over for that job.

Trump is reportedly also meeting with former deputy campaign manager David Bossie for the role, as well as Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and Blackstone Group executive Wayne Berman. Several other potential candidates, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget Head Mick Mulvaney, have both stated they would prefer to stay in their current jobs rather than take on the chief of staff role.

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