Vice Admiral Robert Harward has rejected President Trump’s offer to be the new national security adviser, after the scandal-ridden resignation of General Flynn on Monday night.
Flynn was ousted after he failed to tell Vice President Mike Pence about his discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office. Even though President Trump accepted Flynn’s resignation citing an “eroding level of trust”, he later attacked intelligence officials for leaking the information that led to said resignation.
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by “intelligence” like candy. Very un-American!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
Harward, a former deputy to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and former Navy SEAL, was seen by many as a steadying hand after Flynn’s tumultuous 24 day tenure atop the National Security Council. He previously served as deputy commanding general for operations of Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and worked on the NSC’s counter-terrorism office from 2003 to 2005 during President George W. Bush’s administration.
When asked why he was passing on the job, Harward made the following statement: “Like all service members understand, 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. My thoughts and prayers are with those that carry such heavy burdens and responsibility for taking care of our country’s national security concerns. God bless this great country of ours.”
However, according to an individual familiar with Harward’s thinking, he turned down the Trump offer because he did not receive sufficient assurances about staffing and autonomy. Specifically, the source said Harward wanted commitments that the National Security Council would be fully in charge of security matters, not Trump’s political advisers. And he wanted to be able to select his own staff.
Mr. Harward’s withdrawal from consideration prompted David H. Petraeus, the former general and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to step up his lobbying for the national security adviser post, according to officials familiar with the process. Mr. Petraeus resigned from the CIA in 2012 after admitting that he had an extramarital affair.