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Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump met with Chris Christie last evening and considers him a top contender to replace John Kelly as chief of staff, a source familiar with the president’s thinking tells Axios.

Behind the scenes: Trump has met with a couple of others, but the way he’s discussed Christie to confidants makes them think he’s serious. Christie is "tough; he’s an attorney; he’s politically-savvy, and one of Trump’s early supporters,” the source said. The former New Jersey governor's legal background may also come in handy next year.

Between the lines: Christie is used to being a principal, and it’s unclear how he would handle playing second fiddle. Also, he is not a friend of the Kushners. (As U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Christie sent Jared’s father to prison.)

Also spotted at the White House yesterday ... another contender for chief of staff: David Bossie, Trump's 2016 deputy campaign manager.

P.S. "President Trump's hunt for a new chief of staff has taken on the feel of a reality TV show," the AP reports.

  • Author Chris Whipple, an expert on chiefs of staff, called the search process "sad to watch."

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
35 mins ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

Amanda Gorman steals the show on Inauguration Day

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Poet Amanda Gorman by far generated the most average interactions on social media on Inauguration Day, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

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