A day after settling the score with the media, President Trump is back to business and is currently interviewing candidates for the important post of national security adviser.
He has shortlisted four candidates; adviser Keith Kellogg, Lt. Gen H.R. McMaster, Lt. Gen Robert Caslen, and former UN ambassador John Bolton.
Just after three weeks and three days in the job, Lt. Gen Michael Flynn was fired, leaving the role vacant. President Trump’s first choice, Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward turned down the offer, citing “personal reasons.”
Gen. Flynn stepped down amid controversy; he misled Vice-President Mike Pence over his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
Mr. Harward earlier told AP that it would be “for the President to address” when asked about the speculations that he wanted to bring in his own staff at the National Security Council.
Sean Spicer confirmed to media on Saturday that former CIA chief and retired general, David Petraeus, was no longer being considered for the post.
Mr. Petraeus, a former four-star general, was heading CIA in 2012 when he had to retire after it emerged that he provided classified information to his biographer, with whom he was having an extramarital affair as well.
Here’s a brief overview of the all four candidates running for the position:
Keith Kellogg is a retired three-star general; he has more than 30 years of experience serving in the Army. After retiring in 2003, he became security consultant for Oracle Corp., a software giant. He is also the acting security adviser for the past week.
H.R. McMaster served as a lieutenant general in the Army; he served in Iraq and Afghanistan where he worked on an anti-corruption drive by the government.
Robert Caslen is a Lieutenant General, who is currently the superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and went back into the building after it was hit, he had served in key roles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
John Bolton doesn’t have a military background, but he’s been a career diplomat and lawyer. He served as a hawkish ambassador to the United Nations from August 2006 to December 2006 under George W Bush.
President Trump declined reports that he was having a hard time finding a replacement for Mr. Flynn, and told reporters on Air Force One on Saturday that he had “many, many that want the job.” He also added that he had a personal favorite and the decision will be made in a couple of days. He said:
“I’ve been thinking about someone for the last three or four days; we’ll see what happens. I’m meeting with that person. They’re all good; they’re all great people.”
President Trump is spending the third consecutive weekend at his properties in Florida; he has called his Florida Mar-a-Lago club the “Southern White House.” President Trump is also scheduled to have phone conversations with foreign leaders, and head a health care policy meeting on Sunday.