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Trump’s pick for national security adviser turns down offer: White House official

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 on Thursday.

Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, commanding officer of Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435, speaks to an Afghan official during his visit to Zaranj, Afghanistan, in this January 6, 2011 handout photo.    Sgt. Shawn Coolman/U.S. Marines/Handout via REUTERS
Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, commanding officer of Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435, speaks to an Afghan official during his visit to Zaranj, Afghanistan, in this January 6, 2011 handout photo. Sgt. Shawn Coolman/U.S. Marines/Handout via REUTERS

Harward was offered the job after Michael Flynn was fired by Trump on Monday for misleading Vice President Mike Pence over his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

The White House official said Harward cited family and financial reasons for opting not to take the job. Harward is a senior executive at Lockheed Martin.

Two sources familiar with the decision said Harward turned down the job in part because he wanted to bring in his own team.

That put him at odds with Trump, who had told Flynn’s deputy, K.T. McFarland, that she could stay.

Trump appeared to refer to 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 Flynn to resign, saying it was because the retired lieutenant general had not been completely truthful with 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. So either way, it wasn’t very satisfactory to me,” Trump said.

(Reporting by John Walcott and Steve Holland; Editing by Eric Walsh and Peter Cooney)

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