John Kelly, the Trump administration’s newest staffer, wasn’t the only chief of staff who spent Friday acclimating to his new position: So was Vice President Mike Pence’s new chief of staff, Nick Ayers, who was sworn in Friday and officially assumes the role on Tuesday.
But given the announcement Friday of the resignation of White House chief of staff Reince Preibus, it’s not surprising that Ayer’s swearing-in was eclipsed by the Oval Office staff shake-up.
“Congrats to @Nick_Ayers for being sworn-in as my Chief of Staff,” Pence tweeted, along with photos of Ayers being sworn in, next to his wife and children. “Excited to welcome you & great having your family at @WhiteHouse today.”
Ayers retweeted Pence, adding a shout-out to his new colleague, “Honored and humbled beyond words. Excited to partner with General Kelly to serve and support @POTUS and @VP #MAGA.”
Unlike the Preibus-Kelly shakeup, which took some by surprise, the vice president’s change in staff lacks similar drama and intrigue.
Pence’s office announced in late June that Ayers, a longtime political operative from Georgia who advised Pence during the 2016 campaign and while he served as Indiana governor, would in August replace Josh Pitcock.
“I am pleased to welcome Nick Ayers to the Office of the Vice President,” Pence said in a statement at the time. “During my years as Governor, then as a candidate and serving as Vice President, I have come to appreciate Nick’s friendship, keen intellect and integrity and I couldn’t be more excited to have him come to the White House as my Chief of Staff. I am sincerely grateful to him, and his wife Jamie, for their willingness to serve our office and this administration.”
And Ayers, who has been a leader of the pro-Trump outside group America First Policies, said, “I have such deep respect and admiration for the Pence’s and believe so deeply in the policies the Vice President and the President are fighting for. Leaving Georgia –- albeit temporarily -– was only possible because of how important my wife and I believe this mission is. I am honored with the trust the Vice President has in me and excited to serve in this capacity.”
As for Pitcock, who served as a top aide to Pence while he served in Congress and as governor, Pence said, “Josh Pitcock’s more than twelve years of service have played an invaluable role throughout my public career. His professionalism and integrity are unmatched and he will be missed. I will always be grateful for the foundation Josh laid in the Office of the Vice President and wish him every success in his future endeavors. Whatever the future holds for Josh and his family, he will remain one of my most trusted advisors and cherished friends.”
Pitcock cited a desire to transition to the private sector for his departure. “Deciding to leave was not easy, but I believe the time is right for me to transition to the private sector,” he said. “Nick and I have worked seamlessly together for years and will continue to do so through the transition and thereafter.”