Nick Ayers is Vice President Mike Pence’s former Chief of Staff, former Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association, and—according to Omarosa—the author of The New York Times anonymous op-ed claiming to be the ‘resistance’ inside the Trump administration.
Ayers was born in 1982 in Cobb County, Georgia to parents who voted for Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. Growing up, Ayers—in his own words—was “high on” Bill Clinton and Georgia’s Democratic governor Zell Miller.
By 2000, when Ayers enrolled at Kennesaw State University, his democratic roots had worn off. He spent most of his time chairing the university’s College Republicans. In 2001, he organized a rally in Athens, Georgia where he met then gubernatorial candidate and now secretary of agriculture, Sonny Perdue. After befriending him, Ayers, a 19-year-old freshman, left Kennesaw State University for the campaign trail. When Ayers was 22, Perdue tapped him to lead his re-election effort as campaign manager. But things got weird when Perdue also tapped Ayers to become part of his family. When Perdue found out Ayers was dating a girl from the elite coastal state of New York, he said, “You’re crazy, you’ve got to date a Southern girl.” So Perdue set Ayers up with his second cousin. Ayers was hesitant at first, but ‘she was kind of persistent,’ he said so they married in 2005.
It was no doubt a stressful time for Ayers and things weren’t about to get easier. In 2006, as Perdue’s campaign manager, less than two weeks before the election, Ayers was pulled over for drinking and driving. An officer reportedly caught him weaving in and out of lanes doing 50mph in a 35mph zone. Ayers tried getting out of it by telling the officer he had been a fan of his work for quite some time. But unfortunately for the self-diagnosed ‘chucklehead,’ the officer deemed drinking and driving dangerous and decided not to let him off the hook. Ayers refused to take a breathalyzer, which automatically results in an arrest in Georgia. Six months later, after Perdue won his re-election, the charges against Ayers were reduced to reckless driving.
He announced in an email he had a calling “to utilize the talents God has given him” by working the 2012 presidential campaign of Tim Pawlenty, the guy who once said “based on results, I’m the most pro-life candidate” and “legalizing marijuana is unneeded and unwise.” The higher purpose God reportedly called Ayers to was a losing campaign. After just three months, Pawlenty’s campaign ended before the primaries even began. The campaign racked up nearly half a million dollars in debt and Nick Ayers was deemed “The most hated campaign operative in America” by the Tucker Carlson-founded conservative site, The Daily Caller. It was around this time the drunk driving video surfaced.
But in 2015, after hitting rock bottom, Ayers, depending on how you look at it, was on the rise. He was hired to work on Mike Pence’s gubernatorial re-election campaign as a general consultant. A source close to Pence told HuffPost that, “Ayers is very religious and Mike liked that about him.” Everyone seemingly liked Ayers except for Pence’s campaign pollster and former standup comedian, Kellyanne Conway. Two years later, when the White House was considering Ayers for Pence’s chief of staff, Conway reportedly tried to block Ayers from getting the gig.
Ayers was hired in June of 2017. Then-Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci explained the hiring. “Nick’s there to protect the Vice-President because the Vice-President can’t believe what the fuck is going on.” Ayers emerged as a top contender for chief of staff. He and the president reportedly seriously discussed the job, but when the President offered him the gig, Ayers didn’t want it. According to a CNN report, Trump was “super pissed” Ayers didn’t take the role. Ayers will reportedly, instead, head up a pro-Trump super PAC for the 2020 campaign.
At one point, Ayers reportedly was gearing up to position Pence for a presidential run in 2020. An administration official told Vanity Fair, “Everybody knows Nick [Ayers] is not loyal to the president.”