Citing “family reasons,” Navy Vice Admiral Robert Harward has turned down President Trump’s offer for him to replace the departed Michael Flynn as national security adviser, Fox News reported late Thursday.
One source told Fox that retired Navy Vice Admiral Robert Harward “really wanted” to do the job, but ultimately decided that he could not.
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 retired from the Navy in 2013 after a career spanning nearly 40 years. Upon his retirement, he became chief executive officer for defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin in the United Arab Emirates.
At his news conference Thursday afternoon, the president said he had “somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position” of national security adviser, but didn’t mention any names.
There was no official comment from the White House, but the Financial Times reported that the president is trying to convince Harward to change his mind.
“Harward is conflicted between the call of duty and the obvious dysfunctionality,” a source with knowledge of the situation told the paper.
The high-profile White House posting is currently being held on an interim basis by Keith Kellogg.
Harward is close to Defense Secretary James Mattis and served on the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration.
One source told the Financial Times Harward was concerned about whether top advisers to Trump would allow him to put in his own staff at the NSC, since KT McFarland, Flynn’s deputy, had been asked to stay on.
Harward was scheduled to meet with Trump Thursday night.