Just a few scant days after President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, stepped down amid a storm of allegations over Russian ties, his replacement, Ret. Vice Admiral Robert Harward, also decided to call it quits.
Trump has since named Ret. Lt. Gen Joseph Keith Kellogg, who worked under Flynn before he resigned, as the acting national security adviser.
Harward, a former Navy Seal and a senior executive at Lockheed Martin, cited “financial and family issues” for turning down the job.
“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,” he explained in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with those that carry such heavy burdens and responsibility for taking care of our country's national security concerns. God bless this great country of ours.”
Two close sources said Haward actually turned down the job because he came on the condition that he would bring in his own team if he became the national security adviser, but Trump told Flynn’s deputy, K.T. McFarland, that she could remain on staff and that was something Harward did not want.
“I wouldn't call it a disagreement as much as questions that could not be resolved to his comfort level,” one of the sources said.
However, according to Jake Tapper, a fried of the retired vice admiral said he did not want the job because the White House was a “s*** sandwich.”
A friend of Harward's says he was reluctant to take NSA job bc the WH seems so chaotic; says Harward called the offer a "shit sandwich."— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 17, 2017
Ret. Army Maj. Gen. James Mark, a CNN military analyst called Harward an “incredibly talented guy” and said the chaotic White House conditions may have been a factor in his reluctance to take the offer.
“I'm sure Bob looked at this, Adm. Harward looked at this, and said, 'Look there's a lot of forming and storming going on right now,’” he said.
Whatever the reason for the former Navy Seal turning down the offer, Twitter users are filled with praise for him.
Are you my NSC chair???— (((Charles Young))) (@CharlieYoungEsq) February 17, 2017
Harward: uh...no pic.twitter.com/kat3k6dkCU
White House: okay you've had a few days. Will you be national security advisor? Please?— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) February 17, 2017
Trump to Harward: pic.twitter.com/aiShOABSxN— (((Charles Young))) (@CharlieYoungEsq) February 17, 2017
Hawkard!! Admiral Harward can't stomach the stupid. Wise choice. https://t.co/SrDTZXmI3R— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) February 16, 2017
Robert Harward’s decision to not take over General Flynn’s old job is the latest evidence that the Trump WH is falling into utter disarray.— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) February 16, 2017
#RobertHarward Thank you! Your beloved family, your beloved military, and your beloved country need voices like yours.— Carol Ostroff (@CarolOstroff) February 17, 2017
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters