Trump National Security Advisor Choice Declines Nomination

In this image provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, 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, Jan 6, 2011. Harward has turned down an offer to be President Donald Trump's new national security adviser, the latest blow to a new administration struggling to find its footing. A senior White House official said Feb. 16, 2017, that Harward had turned the offer down due to financial and family commitments. (Sgt. Shawn Coolman/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward has turned down an offer to become President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, a White House official said on Thursday.

“It’s purely a personal issue,” Harward told The Associated Press on Thursday evening. “I’m in a unique position finally after being the in military for 40 years to enjoy some personal time.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “He is a great man who has served his country with distinction. Any discussion was subject to him overcoming family and financial concerns [which] he could not do.”

Trump is searching for a replacement for retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who resigned on Monday over phone calls with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, communications that reportedly involved discussions of sanctions leveled against the country during the Obama administration. Harward, a former Navy SEAL, spent almost 40 years in the Navy and was on President George W. Bush’s National Security Council, with experience in several Middle Eastern countries, as well as Somalia and Bosnia.

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