Trump advisers eyeing possible Priebus replacements
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Reince Priebus is still the White House chief of staff and on Wednesday he told ABC News he intends to remain in the position, but people close to President Donald Trump say he is increasingly frustrated with the management of the West Wing and the president’s most trusted advisers are already making suggestions about who could be the next chief of staff.
Here is a list of possible Priebus replacements being talked about:
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway: Conway has had some tough days in the White House over the past six months, but by all accounts her stock is rising. Close personally to the president and first lady, Conway was the first woman to serve as campaign manager on a winning presidential campaign. She would be the first woman to serve as chief of staff.
Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg: Currently the chief of staff and executive secretary for the National Security Council, Kellogg already spends a lot of time around the president. He was also an important adviser to the president during the campaign and one of the first senior military officers to endorse Trump. He has earned the trust of a president who likes to be in the company of generals.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney: Mulvaney didn’t have much of a relationship with the president before the inauguration, but he came highly recommended by Vice President Mike Pence to be OMB director. The president has come to rely on him when it comes to dealing Congress and, of course, on budget issues.
Retired Gen. John Kelly: To many in the president’s inner circle, Homeland Security Secretary Kelly is considered the MVP of the Trump Cabinet. Kelly might well be the president’s first choice for chief of staff, but there is a big downside: He also likes him in his current role.
Newt Gingrich: Gingrich has spent a lot of time with the president in recent weeks and has become a close confidant of the Trump family. He is a loyalist from the early campaign days but is not afraid to tell the president when he thinks he is making a mistake. Most recently, Gingrich told Trump he should not fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Other possibilities being bandied about include Tom Barrack, Corey Lewandowski, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Gary Cohn.
As the president considers changes in the West Wing staff, he is relying more and more on the advice of his most loyal advisers from the campaign. Campaign veterans like Lewandowski and David Bossie have been spending more time around the West Wing. Conway has been playing a more central role, while Gingrich has been spending more time with the president.
On the other hand, the staff that came in from the Republican National Committee — including Sean Spicer (on his way out), Katie Walsh (already gone) and Priebus (status unclear) — have been pushed out of the inner circle.
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