Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward has rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer to be the new national security adviser, a senior White House official said on Thursday.
Harward who is a senior executive at Lockheed Martin, was offered the job after Michael Flynn resigned over a scandal involving his links with the Russian ambassador in Washington.
The White House official said Harward turned down the job because of family and financial commitments, however two sources familiar with the decision said he refused the offer because he wanted to choose his own staff.
“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,” Harward stated.
He added that since retiring he’s had a chance “to address financial and family issues that would have been challenging in this position.”
Trump referred to Harward earlier in the day at a presidential news conference, saying: “I have somebody that I
think will be outstanding for the position.”
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.
After retiring Harward became a representative of defense contractor Lockheed Martin in the United Arab Emirates and made appearances as a military expert for the ABC television network.