Who is Nick Ayers? Could he be the next Chief of Staff?

Last week, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence welcomed two new chiefs of staff -- retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly and Nick Ayers, a then-34-year-old Republican political consultant from Georgia -- and dined together in Trump's private dining room.

As Trump considers replacing his chief of staff, Ayers has emerged as a top contender. According to CNN, "Interviews with nearly two dozen current and former White House officials, former Ayers colleagues, sources close to the President and Republican congressional staffers portray an ambitious aide who has worked to insulate his current boss from the chaos of the West Wing, while also angling for a bigger job that would place him squarely in the middle of it."

Several of Trump's top advisers have voiced concerns to him about Ayers, with some threatening to quit if he is tapped for the job. One of Ayers' top West Wing detractors during the process has been Kellyanne Conway, who vehemently opposed Ayers' hire as Pence's chief of staff last year, two former White House officials and a source familiar with the matter said.

Conway disputes those allegations, telling CNN: "I have zero beef with Nick Ayers."

Former colleagues of Ayers say his relative youth and outsized ego have rubbed fellow political operatives the wrong way. His allies say that people are just jealous or insecure.

"I think every job he's ever had he's been one of the youngest people to ever have it. And I think that's threatening to some people," said Alex Conant, who worked with Ayers on former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's 2012 presidential campaign.

Ayers' finances and involvement with political dark money groups could become political baggage down the road. One initiative, Freedom Frontier, for whom he consulted, is the subject of two recent ethics complaints, the most recent of which was filed with the IRS on Tuesday. That complaint, filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, contends the group's political spending exceeded legal limits in violation of campaign finance laws.

 

Sources:

CNN