Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is considered as the new White House chief of staff, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter, CNBC informed.
However, Mnuchin has indicated to his inner circle that he feels that he would be the best choice for the position head of Treasury, according to these people who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the privacy of the ongoing discussions.
But some of Trump’s members are pushing for Mnuchin as a possible replacement for John Kelly.
It is still not clear whether Trump himself has discussed the matter with Mnuchin. Other names are also mentioned in the reports as potential replacements for Kelly, but it’s not clear whether any of them have the right credentials to take this job.
Mnuchin, who is a former Goldman Sachs executive, is one of the members of the administration who is considered to be more in favor of free trade, as opposed to hawks like the trade advisor Peter Navarro. Mnuchin’s potential move to chief of staff would come amid crucial trade talks with China. Markets, however, could see Mnuchin’s move away from Treasury as a potentially destabilizing action.
White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the president’s chief trade negotiator, are also reportedly on the short list.
Lighthizer had said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he had not been asked to replace Kelly.
On Sunday, Nick Ayers, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence who had been the favorite to replace Kelly, announced he would be departing the administration at the end of the year.
People close to Ayers said he could go back to leading Pence’s political action committee, the Great America Committee.