Trump’s choice to replace Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor has reportedly turned down the job:
But Mr Harward is said to have turned Mr Trump down. “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.
Former Vice Adm. Harward had been the favorite to be selected as Flynn’s replacement of the three most likely candidates, but it seems that the task of cleaning up Flynn’s mess and working with such an erratic president didn’t appeal to him. One of the reasons given in the FT report for Harward’s refusal was a concern that he would be stuck with Flynn appointees:
One of the people familiar with Mr Harward’s decision said he was concerned about whether the top advisers around Mr Trump would allow him to install his own staff on the NSC — particularly after suggestions that KT McFarland, Mr Flynn’s deputy, had been asked to remain.
I can scarcely blame Harward for not wanting the job, but by all accounts he would have been a marked improvement over Flynn and might have been able to get the NSC running in a more orderly fashion. He was seen as a likely ally for Secretary Mattis, and if he isn’t taking the job that makes Mattis’ influence more limited than it might have been. Maybe Harward will change his mind, but it seems more likely that Trump will have to look elsewhere for Flynn’s replacement.