Mike Pence calls in help as White House burns around him: Vice president hires new chief of staff known for Republican victories.
Vice President Mike Pence’s newest high-level hire is raising eyebrows as the former lawmaker tries to get in a legislative win under his best for the scandal-plagued White House.
Pence said he was replacing one chief of staff, Josh Pitcock, with another, Nick Ayers, late last month amid chaos and division among Republicans on Capitol Hill that’s prevented them from passing any major pieces of legislation.
Ayers was thought to be eyeing a run for governor of Georgia, but he accepted the chief of staff job with Pence, instead.
A political savant, Ayers helped put Republican politician Sonny Perdue in the Georgia governor’s mansion when he was 19. Perdue is now the secretary of agriculture.
Ayers went on to manage the Republican Governors’ Association at the age of 24, stacking up a string of victories for his political party in executive posts.
South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, New Jersey’s Chris Christie and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker were all hoisted into office during his tenure. Haley has since joined the Trump administration as United Nations ambassador.
The 34-year-old husband and father is close to Pence, whom he followed to the Republican ticket last summer once the Indiana governor accepted Donald Trump’s proposition to become his VP.
He remained by Pence’s side into the presidential transition.
The Republican political operative took on a role with an outside organization once his boss was firmly in the White House only to come back to him in a reorganization that the New York Times has said will stretch across Pence’s portfolio at the White House.
Pence’s outgoing chief of staff, Pitcock, had been with the VP for 12 years. The Times article cited sources who said he always planned to depart early in the administration.
Pitcock said in a statement that he was leaving the administration because ‘the time is right’ to pursue private sector opportunities.
Pence meanwhile said that he’d ‘come to appreciate Nick’s friendship, keen intellect and integrity,’ according to USA Today.
‘I couldn’t be more excited to have him come to the White House,’ he said of Ayers in a statement.
Paul Bennecke, the current executive director of the RGA, told the Daily Beast of the hire, ;I think it’s a great asset to the president and the vice president to have someone who can figure out what the big objectives are, but more importantly, figure out what they can control and achieve, so that those objectives become reality.’