Donald Trump is trying to persuade his preferred candidate to succeed Michael Flynn as national security adviser to change his mind after the retired admiral tapped for the role told the US president he could not accept the White House position, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Mr Trump asked Robert Harward, a retired navy special forces officer, to succeed Mr Flynn, who was fired as national security adviser on Monday.
At a press conference on Thursday, Mr Trump said his decision to replace Mr Flynn had been made easier because he had an “outstanding” candidate to serve as a replacement.
But Mr Harward later told The Associated Press he had turned down the offer. He said: “It’s purely a personal issue. I’m in a unique position finally after being in the military for 40 years to enjoy some personal time.”
One person with first hand knowledge of the discussions between Mr Trump and Mr Harward said: “Harward is conflicted between the call of duty and the obvious dysfunctionality.”
A second person said Mr Trump had asked Mr Harward to return to the White House for another meeting to try to change his mind.
Appointing Mr Harward, a well-liked navy veteran who is close to James Mattis, US defence secretary, would have helped Mr Trump start to reduce some of the turmoil that has rocked his administration in recent weeks. The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the decision by Mr Harward.I'll wait a bit longer to see how this plays out- Is the decline certain?