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Mike Pence aide won’t be named Donald Trump’s next chief of staff

Click to play video 'Trump: Chief of staff John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year' Trump: Chief of staff John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year
WATCH ABOVE: U.S. President Donald Trump announced his Chief of staff John Kelly will be leaving at the end of year – Dec 8, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump‘s top pick to replace chief of staff John Kelly, Nick Ayers, is no longer expected to fill the role.

Ayers, who is chief of staff to Vice-President Mike Pence, was seen as the favourite for the job when Trump announced Saturday that Kelly would leave around year’s end. But a White House official said Sunday that Trump and Ayers could not reach agreement on Ayers’ length of service and that he would instead assist the president from outside the administration.

READ MORE: John Kelly will leave role as chief of staff at end of 2018, Trump says

It was not immediately clear whether Trump had a new favourite for the post. The official was not authorized to discuss the personnel issue by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Ayers and Trump had discussed the job for months. The new hire was to be key to a West Wing reshuffling to shift focus toward the 2020 re-election campaign and the challenge of governing with Democrats in control of the House.

READ MORE: White House chief of staff John Kelly expected to resign within days: reports

The official said that Trump and Ayers could not agree on his length of service. Trump wants his next chief of staff to hold the job through the 2020 election. Ayers, who has young triplets, had long planned to leave the administration at the end of the year, and had only agreed to serve in an interim basis through next spring.

Ayers instead will be leaving the administration to run a pro-Trump super PAC, according to a person familiar with his plans who was not authorized to discuss them by name.

Trump said Saturday that he expected to announce a replacement for Kelly in a day or two.

WATCH: Trump says happy with ‘most of’ his cabinet, calls Mueller investigation a ‘hoax’ once more

Click to play video 'Trump says happy with ‘most of’ his cabinet, calls Mueller investigation a ‘hoax’ once more' Trump says happy with ‘most of’ his cabinet, calls Mueller investigation a ‘hoax’ once more
Trump says happy with ‘most of’ his cabinet, calls Mueller investigation a ‘hoax’ once more – Nov 16, 2018

With Ayers out of the running, Trump is considering four candidates for the post, including Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, according to a person familiar with the president’s thinking. He is to make a decision by the end of the year, said the person, was not authorized to discuss the personnel issue by name.

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Kelly’s last day on the job is set to be Jan. 2.