— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) February 16, 2017
Financial Times is reporting that the President’s pick to replace Mike Flynn as National Security Adviser has turned down the job.
Mr Trump asked Robert Harward, a retired navy special forces officer, to succeed Mr Flynn, who was fired as national security adviser on Monday. At a press conference on Thursday, he said his decision to replace Mr Flynn had been made easier because he had an “outstanding” candidate to serve as a replacement.
But Mr Harward is said to have turned Mr Trump down. “Harward is conflicted between the call of duty and the obvious dysfunctionality,” said one person with first hand knowledge of the discussions between Mr Trump and Mr Harward. The second person said Mr Trump had asked Mr Harward to return to the White House for another meeting to try to change his mind.
Concerns over whether he could hire his own staff may have been a cause for the refusal.
One of the people familiar with Mr Harward’s decision said he was concerned about whether the top advisers around Mr Trump would allow him to install his own staff on the NSC — particularly after suggestions that KT McFarland, Mr Flynn’s deputy, had been asked to remain. When he was offered the position, Mr Harward had told Mr Trump that he wanted some time to think over the idea.
Harward is currently an executive at Lockheed Martin. I wrote earlier about President Trump’s unorthodox dealings with that company and its competitor Boeing. Perhaps that had an effect on Harward’s decision.
Or maybe he just watched today’s press conference.