The top pick to be President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, retired Adm. Robert Harward, reportedly declined the offer after seeing Trump air his grievances in a 77-minute press conference on Thursday.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Friday cited a former national security official familiar with Harward’s decision who said Harward asked that several demands be met as a condition of accepting the offer:
- A clear chain of command, reporting directly to the president.
- Restoring the [National Security Council] structure of prior administrations … so that political advisers like Steve Bannon would not have a seat on the Principals’ Committee.
“Harward wanted to undo the fairly large changes the president had made to the NSC that had inserted Bannon into the process,” Hayes reported.
Citing his source, Hayes said “The White House did not offer Harward sufficient assurances that he would have such autonomy.” Harward wrote a letter declining the offer.
The White House reportedly sought to negotiate with Harward on the matter, which Harward was apparently open to, Hayes said, but that changed a short time later.
“After watching the president’s press conference [Thursday], he decided to stick with his decision to decline the offer,” according to the source cited by Hayes.
Harward became deputy commander of US Central Command before he retired in 2013. He was said to be considering the national security adviser role after Gen. Michael Flynn resigned on Monday. Harward told the Associated Press on Thursday his decision was “purely a personal issue,” saying “I’m in a unique position finally after being in the military for 40 years to enjoy some personal time.”
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