Admiral Robert Harward is now a senior executive at Lockheed Martin. (US Navy: Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc Rockwell-Pate)
President Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser, retired Vice-Admiral Robert Harward, has turned down the offer, a senior White House official said.
Admiral Harward was offered the job after Michael Flynn was fired by Mr Trump earlier this week for misleading Vice-President Mike Pence over his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
The White House official said Admiral Harward cited family and financial reasons for opting not to take the job.
Admiral Harward is a senior executive at Lockheed Martin.
Two sources familiar with the decision said Admiral Harward turned down the job in part because he wanted to bring in his own team.
That put him at odds with Mr Trump, who had told Mr Flynn’s deputy, KT McFarland, that she could stay.
Mr Trump appeared to refer to Admiral Harward earlier in the day at a presidential news conference, saying: “I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position.”
The President also made clear why he asked Mr Flynn to resign, saying it was because the retired Lieutenant-General had not been completely truthful with Mr Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak.
“The thing is, he didn’t tell our Vice-President properly, and then he said he didn’t remember,” Mr Trump said.
“So either way, it wasn’t very satisfactory to me.”
Harward served under General Mattis
Admiral Harward, a former Navy SEAL, served as deputy commander of US Central Command under General James Mattis, who is now defence secretary.
He also served on the National Security Council under President George W Bush and commissioned the National Counter Terrorism Centre.
Upon retirement in 2013 after a nearly 40-year career in the Navy, Admiral Harward became chief executive officer for defence and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin in the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Trump has recently been in very public negotiations with Lockheed over the cost of its F-35 fighter jet.
Officials said earlier this week that there were two other contenders in the running for the job: acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg and retired General David Petraeus.
General Petraeus, a retired four-star general, resigned as CIA director in 2012 and pleaded guilty to one misdemeanour charge of mishandling classified information relating to documents he had provided to his biographer, with whom he was having an affair.
He was also fined $100,000 and remains on probation.