Retired Vice-Admiral Robert Harward has turned down U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer to fill in the post of National Security Adviser. He was predicted to be next top Adviser after Michael Flynn was ousted on Monday; Mr. Flynn had misled the Vice-President Mike Pence over his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak.
The U.S. media is insisting that the former Vice-Admiral wanted to bring in his own team, but a White House official cited Mr. Harward’s family and financial commitments as the reasons for declining the job offer.
The 60-year-old former Navy SEAL is currently based in Abu Dhabi as an executive for Lockheed Martin, a U.S. Defense contractor. This is what Mr. Harward said to the AP:
“The Trump administration was very accommodating to my needs, both professionally and personally. It’s purely a personal issue.”
When asked specifically about reports that he wanted to bring in his own staff at the National Security Council, “I think that’s for the President to address,” he replied.
President Trump said on Friday that four people were currently being considered for the role including General Keith Kellogg, the new acting national security adviser. The setback regarding Mr. Harward came after President Trump claimed in a news conference that there was no disarray in the White House and the administration was running like a “fine-tuned machine.” He robustly declined media reports at there was chaos in the White House.
The White House is going to announce the name of its new communications director later tonight (Friday), and Mike Dubke, the founder of Republican media group Crossroads Media, is likely to fill in the role.
The retired Army Lieutenant-General, Michael Flynn was ousted over claims that he discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy even before he was appointed as the National Security Adviser. If true, this would have been a breach of the law as private citizens can’t engage in diplomacy.
Mr. Flynn, who had initially declined to discuss sanctions with Moscow’s Ambassador to Washington, was asked for a resignation by President Trump citing he misled Vice-President over his conversations with the diplomat. Leading Republicans were calling for an investigation over the intelligence leaks that eventually led to his resignation.
Among the four choices, either General David Petraeus or the acting security adviser Keith Kellogg is expected to assume the job.
The 72-year-old retired three-star general, Keith Kellogg has more than 30 years of experience in the Army and served in Vietnam, Panama, Cambodia and the Gulf before retiring in 2003 after which he became security consultant for Oracle Corp., a software giant.
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.
He’s still on two years’ probation after the conviction for mishandling classified information. If he wishes to move to Washington D.C., he would have to notify his parole officer.