US President Donald Trump’s nominee as his new National Security Adviser, retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, has turned down the offer.
Harward was to replace Trump’s former adviser, retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who resigned on Monday for misleading Vice President Mike Pence over his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the US.
Harward, a former Navy SEAL, was said to have cited “financial and family issues that would have been challenging in this position” in explaining his decision to decline the offer.
Harward said in a statement: “Like all service members understand, and live, this job requires 24 hours a day, seven 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.”
Harward’s statement declining to accept the position came a day after reports that Trump had offered the job to him following Flynn’s resignation.
Trump was reportedly “a bit surprised when Harward responded by saying he needed a couple of days to think it over”.
Reports said Harward’s decision followed his concern about whether the top advisers in Trump’s administration would allow him to install his own staff on the National Security Council, particularly the Deputy National Security Adviser, K.T. McFarland, whom Trump had asked to stay on.
Following Flynn’s resignation from his post, Trump had named retired Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, who previously served as Flynn’s Chief of Staff on the National Security Council, as his acting National Security Adviser.
Harward was among several individuals floated for the position to replace Flynn, along with Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, and retired Army General, David Petraeus, a former Director of Criminal Investigative Agency.