Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie withdrew from consideration Friday for White House chief of staff, saying he has asked President Trump to take him out of the running in the search for John Kelly's successor.
“It’s an honor to have the president consider me as he looks to choose a new White House chief of staff,” Christie said in a statement. “However, I’ve told the president that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment. As a result, I have asked him to no longer keep me in any of his considerations for this post.”
Christie, a Republican who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2016 before backing Trump’s bid, has been considered for numerous administration jobs since his gubernatorial term ended this year, though he has not assumed any formal administration role.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Thursday, Trump said he was down to five candidates to replace the departing Kelly, who plans to leave the White House in the coming weeks.
“We are interviewing people now for chief of staff,” Trump said. He said the shortlist of "five people" consisted of “mostly well-known” contenders who were all “terrific people" and "really good ones."
In an interview with Fox News' Harris Faulkner on "Outnumbered Overtime," Trump offered a clue about what he wants to see in Kelly's replacement.
“I want somebody that's strong but I want somebody that thinks like I do,” he said. “It's my vision. It is my vision. After all, at the same time, I'm open to ideas.”
Trump has struggled, though, to get several contenders to commit to the job: Vice President Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, had been originally thought to be a top choice for the president, but he withdrew from consideration.
Fox News’ Kendall Gastelu and Gregg Re contributed to this report.