Late-Night Hosts on Trump's Search for New Chief of Staff: "Nobody Wants This Job"

"At this point, the only job tougher to fill than chief of staff is host of the Oscars," said Jimmy Fallon.
Terence Patrick/CBS; Scott Kowalchyk/CBS; Brad Barket/Comedy Central
From left: James Corden, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah

With John Kelly stepping down as the White House chief of staff, the Trump administration is in the process of finding a new candidate to take over the position. Reports have said that while President Donald Trump has offered the job to a number of candidates, everyone has turned it down.

And many of the high-profile late-night hosts shared addressed the unpopular nature of the position on Monday night's episodes of their respective shows.

Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers was reportedly Trump's first choice for the job, though he declined the offer. 

James Corden told his audience on CBS' The Late Late Show that Ayers reportedly declined Trump's offer to take over Kelly's job "because they couldn't agree to terms."

"Specifically, they couldn't agree on the size of the bus Ayers would eventually be thrown under," joked Corden.

The host shared a photo of Ayers to help his audience visualize who he was talking about. "Ayers turned down the job so he could focus on helping Mike Pence, as well as training at the Cobra Kai Dojo and bullying the Karate Kid," he said as a photo of the Karate Kid villain appeared onscreen, which showed a clear resemblance between the two.

On Comedy Central's The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah said that the administration needs to fill the "most important job in the White House." He explained that the chief of staff advises and controls access to the president, as well as gets "the president out of the tanning bed before he burns."

A compilation of news clips explained that Ayers turned the job down in favor of moving his family to Georgia. "God damn. That's how bad this job is. President Trump offered it to some guy and he responds by quitting the job he already has and fleeing the state," said Noah.

More news clips explained that North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have all said that they aren't interested in the job.

"This is so depressing. But at the same time, of course nobody wants this job," said Noah. "We all know by now what happens if you work for Trump. At some point you're gonna lose your credibility, and then you spend everyday being insulted by a 72-year-old 5-year-old. Who would want that?"

He continued, "So many Americans don't want this job, Trump might have to let a Mexican do it."

The Daily Show correspondent Michael Kosta said that the reason no one wants the job is a branding problem. "'Chief of staff' sounds so boring and office-y. They should rename the job to sound more exciting, like 'Race Car Driver' or 'Marvel's The Black Panther,'" he said. "Then they'll see those résumés pour in."

When Noah said that nobody wants the job, Kosta responded, "Y'know what, f— it. I'll do it."

When the host pointed out that Kosta may not be qualified, the correspondent explained that he had all the qualifications that are important to Trump. "I'm white. I'm male. I'm straight. I can poop standing up. I'm the whole package," he asserted.

"How hard could it be, Trevor? You've seen the last two years. Most of that job is just saying, 'Mr. President, I wouldn't do...uh, whatever you want," Kosta added. "All you gotta do is make sure Trump doesn't stick his finger in a socket. It's pretty much daycare, and most of the kids I babysat didn't die."

Noah continued to explain to Kosta that he would not get the job, though the determined correspondent confidently announced that he will be the next chief of staff.

Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert of CBS' The Late Show updated his audience about Kelly's exit as chief of staff. "On the bright side, I think we found the next host of the Oscars," he said.

Colbert talked of Trump's ideal candidate to take over Kelly's role. "Ayers had every quality Trump was looking for. Experience in the White House, political acumen and, most importantly, 'with a head of blond hair, Mr. Ayers somewhat resembles Mr. Trump in his younger days, a fact that the president often looks for as a positive signal,'" the late-night host read from a New York Times article.

'"Oh, wow. It's like looking in a mirror. You are going to be a great skin farm. I mean, chief of skin. I mean, staff of hair," Colbert said with his Trump impersonation.

He then shared that Trump was humiliated that Ayers declined the job. The host also pointed out that Mnuchin and Mulvaney have stated that they have no interest in the position.

"It's like Trump's trying to give his rose away at The Bachelor," Colbert joked.

"The president is in desperate need of a chief of staff and he's got no viable candidates, which is why I'd like to take this opportunity to throw my hat in the ring," he said.

The audience showed their support by chanting Colbert's name. "Mr. President, I, Stephen Colbert, am your next White House chief of staff," he said. "Now, will I be able to control the president? No. Will we fight? Yeah. But will I bring a steady hand to a tumultuous West Wing? Also, no. But no one could. Who cares?

"And no, I don’t agree with the president's policies and no, this won't help the country," he continued. "But I believe in my heart of hearts that this could be fun for me."

NBC's Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon also touched on the subject by telling his viewers that the job is theirs if they want it. "If anyone here wants to be President Trump's chief of staff, just raise your hand and the job is yours," he said.

After explaining Kelly's exit, Fallon said, "The administration is looking for a new chief of staff to bring order to the White House and improve Trump's behavior, which explains their first choice: Mary Poppins."

He then shared that Ayers turned the job offer down. "You know you're a tough guy to work for when someone says, 'Thanks, but I'd rather be stuck in a room all day with Mike Pence. That's more fun for me,'" Fallon said.

"I heard that several of Trump's top choices don't want the position. At this point, the only job tougher to fill than chief of staff is host of the Oscars," he concluded.

On ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the host informed his audience that Trump is having a difficult time trying to find a replacement for Kelly.

"It's a high-profile job — chief of staff — but nobody wants it. Like hosting the Oscars," he said. "Maybe Kevin Hart should be chief of staff."

Kimmel said that the president has found himself in a tough situation: "How do you convince a rat to jump on a sinking ship? It's against their nature."

The host also pointed out that the next person to hold the role will be the third chief of staff during Trump's time as president. Kimmel then shared a tweet from Trump in 2012 that criticized Barack Obama for having three chiefs of staff within three years. "There really is a tweet for every situation," he joked.

And on NBC's Late Night With Seth Meyers, the host reflected on Kelly's time in the White House. He said that while many people had high hopes for Kelly to keep Trump in check, that was never going to happen.

"For one thing, you can't change Trump. And also, Kelly wanted the same thing as Trump," he said. "We all just projected ourselves onto Kelly because his face always looked the way we felt."

Meyers then shared a compilation of photos in which Kelly looked unhappy and bored. "But now we know that's just his face," he said. "That's his 'Everything is going great' face."