Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward, a former U.S. Navy Seal, rejected President Donald Trump's offer to become new national security adviser.
Trump is reportedly trying to win him back.
The "well-liked navy veteran who is close to James Mattis, US defence secretary" was to replace Mike Flynn after Flynn resigned in a cloud of suspicion, over alleged contact with Russian agents.
A friend of Harward's has been quoted in the press as saying Harward was reluctant to take the job because the White House seems unstable. Harward called the offer a "shit sandwich," his friend said.
From the Financial Times:
"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.
From CBS News:
Specifically, Mr. Trump told Deputy National Security Adviser K. T. McFarland that she could retain her post, even after the ouster of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Harward refused to keep McFarland as his deputy, and after a day of negotiations over this and other staffing matters, Harward declined to serve as Flynn's replacement.
Harward, a 60-year-old former Navy SEAL, served as deputy commander of U.S. Central Command under now-Defense Secretary James Mattis. He previously served as deputy commanding general for operations of Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Harward has also commanded troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan for six years after the 9/11 attacks. Under President George W. Bush, he served on the National Security Council as director of strategy and policy for the office of combating terrorism.
Flynn resigned from the post amid questions about his contacts with Russian officials.
And from Reuters:
The White House official said Harward cited family and financial reasons for opting not to take the job. Harward is a senior executive at Lockheed Martin.
Two sources familiar with the decision said Harward turned down the job in part because he wanted to bring in his own team.
That put him at odds with Trump, who had told Flynn's deputy, K.T. McFarland, that she could stay.
Trump appeared to refer to Harward earlier in the day at a presidential news conference, saying: "I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position."
The guy who literally wrote the book on the NSC —> https://t.co/kJXGhb78ll
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) February 17, 2017
That "shit sandwich" quote – that's not something other national security adviser candidates can ignore. We're about to see who's thirstiest
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) February 17, 2017
Another source says that Trumps press conference today did not go unnoticed by Harward
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) February 17, 2017