Robert Harward, a former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, has turned down President Trump's offer to become the next national security adviser, he told The Associated Press Thursday.
“It’s purely a personal issue,” the retired vice admiral told AP. “I’m in a unique position finally after being in the military for 40 years to enjoy some personal time.”
Harward, 60, had been widely reported as the favorite to replace former general Michael Flynn, who resigned Monday, after misleading Vice President Pence about the nature of his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
Harward said that since retiring from the military he has been able to "address financial and family issues" in a way that would not be possible if he accepted the president's offer, according to a statement from Harward shared by CNN's Jake Tapper. "Like all service members understand, and live, this job requires 24 hours a day, 7 days a week focus and commitment to do it right. I currently could not make that commitment."
Vice Admiral Harward statement: pic.twitter.com/Vxfh1Ub4l6— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 17, 2017
The retired Navy SEAL may be enjoying life in the private sector but he also turned down the White House's role over concerns that he would not have full say over the composition of his staff, The Washington Post, CBS News and The Financial Times reported, citing unnamed sources.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/robert-harward-turns-down-national-security-adviser-job/, Trump insisted that Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland be allowed to stay on, and Harward refused to retain the former Fox News analyst and Flynn hire.
Harward, currently a senior executive at Lockheed Martin, also cited the apparent lack of organization within the Trump White House, FT reported.
“Harward is conflicted between the call of duty and the obvious dysfunctionality,” FT quoted the unidentified person as saying.
One unnamed friend of Harward told CNN that the former SEAL referred to Trump's offer as a "s--- sandwich."
Another source told The Financial Times that Trump is still working to persuade Harward to take the position. He asked for him to return to the White House for another meeting, according to FT.
Former lieutenant general Keith Kellogg took over as the acting national security adviser after Flynn's resignation. Retired general and former CIA director David Petraeus is reported to be another top candidate for the position.