Retired Navy Vice Admiral (SEAL) Robert S. Harward has reportedly turned down an offer to be President Donald J. Trump’s National Security Advisor, replacing former General Mike Flynn, who recently resigned over allegations that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence regarding his contacts with Russian officials prior to the Trump inauguration.
According to CNN, Harward told a friend that he was reluctant to take the job because of the chaos in the White House. Harward went farther still, reportedly, and called the offer a “shit sandwich” — a phrase it is not hard to imagine him saying — referring to the dysfunction inside the West Wing.
According to the Financial Times, which appears to be the first to have reported the story earlier today, Harward “is conflicted between the call of duty and the obvious dysfunctionality” of the White House. This was according to a person with first-hand knowledge of the discussions between President Trump and Admiral Harward.
Financial Times also reported that there were concerns on Harward’s part that he would not be able to staff the National Security Council (NSC) positions to his own liking, and would, for example, have to retain Flynn’s choice of KT McFarland in her job as Deputy National Security Advisor.
A we reported here on SOFREP, Harward is a “no bullshit” type of leader, and these restrictions on how he would be able to manage the NSC were likely too onerous for him to feel comfortable saying yes to the job. Harward also possibly felt that circumstances in the West Wing were such that the chaos would outweigh any attempt that he made at effectively running the NSC.
CBS News also reported that Harward demanded his own team on the NSC, and that the White House resisted. The negotiations reportedly lasted for over a day and Harward finally turned down the offer.
The White House has not officially commented on Harward’s rejection of the offer as of the time of this writing. One thing is for certain, though: this author is disappointed that Harward will not be in the White House to act as the National Security Advisor. He would have been an invaluable addition to the national security team.
That said, given the reports of the inner workings of the Trump White House so far, I cannot say that I fault him his decision.
(Photo by Tech. Sgt. James May/U.S. Department of Defense).