Kiwi White House insider Chris Liddell recently received praise for his pre-election efforts to prepare for a possible transition of power.
But now he's hit pause, becoming an enabler of Trump's effort's stay in power, according to well-connected US politics site Axios.
"Behind the scenes, Chris Liddell, Trump's deputy chief of staff for policy coordination, has been working on transition preparations for the past several weeks, but everything is frozen right now, they're not doing anything," a source familiar with the New Zealander's work told the site.
Typically at this point, Liddell should be figuring out what priorities they can push through before January 20 and working with the Justice Department to review security clearances for Biden officials, the site says.
While the Biden campaign has posted its own transition page, Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration, has yet to declare when Biden's official transition begins, Axios says.
Neither may happen until the White House gets on board with the outcome.
Liddell - a former Carter Holt Harvey executive who went on to hold CFO roles at Microsoft and GM - joined the Trump White House in the early days — first working for Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner before becoming a deputy chief of staff in charge of policy coordination.
Liddell oversaw the coordination of contentious areas like immigration and trade.
Trump recently nominated Liddell to the position of Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
And, before election day, at least, the Kiwi was earning good notices for his work on a possible transition of power from Trump to Biden.
"For now, Liddell is impressing business leaders, good government types and even former Obama aides with the ease of the White House's transition planning. A former Obama transition official said he was 'somewhat flabbergasted that they have maintained regular order for an administration that is not about regular order'," Politico said on September 24.
Friends and allies said Liddell was aware of the delicacy of the situation and is purposefully seeking to work under the radar. The New Zealander declined to comment to Politico.
Today, Axios says some in Trump's inner circle, including his social media guru Dan Scavino and personnel director Johnny McEntee, are egging him on. But others "know it's a dead end" and are putting out job feelers.
Meanwhile, Trump himself has privately told advisors he is considering a run in 2024, Axios says - an implicit admission that his 2020 effort will soon be up.