WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump told Republican U.S. Representative Mark Meadows that he wants him to stay in Congress rather than take the White House chief of staff job the president is seeking to fill, three senior White House officials said on Wednesday.
Meadows had been among 10 or 12 people that Trump is considering for the post that retired General John Kelly is leaving early in 2019. Kelly, Trump's second chief of staff after Reince Priebus, had tried to bring more discipline to the chaotic Trump White House and frequently found himself at odds with the president.
Trump and Meadows had a phone conversation to discuss the job, one White House official said.
"Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress. “The president told him we need him in Congress so he can continue the great work he is doing there," the official said.
Trump told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that he was having no trouble recruiting people for one of the most powerful jobs in Washington. Some potential candidates like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have offered polite no-thank-yous. “I have so many people, I cannot interview them all,” he told Reuters.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Trump's nominee for Treasury secretary, testifies during his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, January 19, 2017.
(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin sits with Vanessa Trump (R), wife of Donald Trump Jr, before a swearing-in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington, DC January 22, 2017.
Incoming Trump administration Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin departs after working a simulated crisis scenario during transition meetings at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 13, 2017.
Producer Steve Bing (L) and Honoree Steven Mnuchin recipient of the Philanthropic Leadership Award attend The Kaleidoscope Ball - Designing The Future benefitting the UCLA Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.
(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for BWR)
Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, right, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy.
(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Steve Mnuchin and Lousie Linton arrive at the Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Jupiter Ascending' at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 2, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Heather Mnuchin and Steve Mnuchin attend The Art Show Gala to Benefit The Henry Street Settlement at The Seventh Regiment Armory on February 23, 2005 in New York City.
(Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin attends the inaugural parade of U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, January 20, 2017. Donald Trump was sworn in earlier as the 45th President of the United States.
Donald Trumps' Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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(Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney)