Trump says more than 10 people want top White House job

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, without offering any names, said on Tuesday more than 10 people are vying to be his new White House chief of staff, a job his top choice declined over the weekend.

Trump and the outgoing chief of staff, John Kelly, reportedly had been at odds for months, but the president was left without a clear replacement after Nick Ayers declined the crucial position.

"Many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position," Trump wrote in a tweet.

The opening comes as the White House braces for an onslaught of political and legal challenges in the coming year.

On Saturday, Trump said Kelly would be leave at year's end, capping months of clashes between the president and the retired general who had been brought in after Reince Priebus left the post.

Ayers, currently chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, said on Sunday he was returning to Georgia with his family at the end of the year.

Sources familiar with the search for a replacement said Trump was considering a number of candidates, including Republican Representative Mark Meadows, former campaign adviser David Bossie, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Other possible contenders, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney have said they are not interested, sources said. (Writing by Susan Heavey Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Bill Trott)

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