Retired Vice Admiral Turns Down Offer to Succeed Flynn as National Security Adviser: Official

Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg has been acting national security adviser since Flynn stepped down

Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward has turned down an offer to become President Donald Trump's national security adviser, a White House official told NBC News Thursday.

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

Press Secretary Sean Spicer told NBC News: "He is a great man who has served his country with distinction. Any discussion was subject to him overcoming family and financial concerns that he could not do."

Harward would have replaced retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who resigned at Trump's request Monday after revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about discussions he held with a Russian diplomat.

Officials said this week that there were two other contenders: acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg, and retired Gen. David Petraeus.

Harward, a former Navy SEAL, served as deputy commander of the United States Central Command under Gen. James Mattis, who is now defense secretary. 

Harward served on the National Security Council under President George W. Bush and commissioned the National Counterterrorism Center.

Upon retirement as a vice admiral in 2013 after a nearly 40-year career in the Navy, Harward became chief executive officer for defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin in the United Arab Emirates. Trump has recently been in very public negotiations with Lockheed over the cost of its F-35 fighter jet program.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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