After National Security Advisor Mike Flynn turned in his resignation this week, President Trump began looking for his replacement. He extended an offer to Retired Vice Admiral Bob Harward. CNN is now reporting that Harward has declined.
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Why would anyone so qualified turn down such a position? The pundits claim it is becasue Harward would have been President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. The chaos surrounding the Trump administration may have been untenable.
CNN is quoting “a friend of Harward’s” who acknowledges that the chaos was too much. This friend claims “Harward called the offer a ‘shit sandwich’.”
CNN also spoke with another source that they describe as a “senior Republican.” This person wasn’t so colorful in his characterization of Harward’s unease. He claims that Harward had “a question of clarity regarding the lines of authority.”
“I wouldn’t call it a disagreement as much as questions that could not be resolved to his comfort level,” the source added.
Fox is reporting that the decision had more to do with his family:
“A senior administration official said that Harward’s acceptance of the national security adviser post was contingent on the agreement of his family. The official said Harward’s wife and other family members wanted him to remain in the private sector.”
Harward had been a popular choice with Trump’s supporters. Harwad served as a Navy SEAL, and then moved on to serve as deputy commander of the United States Central Command under Gen. James Mattis.
Trump spent much of his press conference on Thursday answering repetitive questions about who knew what about Flynn’s contact with the Russians. Trump continues to stand by Flynn and says that his resignation was accepted becasue of a break down in trust, and not because he spoke with Russians.
The trust in question had eroded after Flynn misrepresented his conversations with Vice President Pence rather than the discussions with the Russians. Trump continues to insist that he had not advised Flynn to make call to Russian officials, but that he would have advised him to do so.
Critics of Harward’s decision to decline Trump’s offer are using this as another example to refute Trump’s assertion, made today during his press conference, that “the White House is a finely tuned machine.”