February 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm #27387Andy BrownParticipant
Retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward has rejected President Donald Trump’s offer to serve as national security advisor after the White House reportedly refused his request to pick his own team, dealing an embarrassing setback to the administration.
The former Navy SEAL’s decision to turn down the prestigious job highlights how Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, has entrenched himself as a powerful figure in the White House, wielding influence over every aspect of decision-making.
In one of the president’s first executive orders after taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, Bannon — with no experience in government and an isolationist, anti-internationalist agenda — was granted a permanent seat on the National Security Council. The order was an unprecedented move for a body that is supposed to steer clear of political considerations.
In any other White House, Harward’s request to have a say over who served on his staff would have been routine, former officials said. But Trump and his aides have been deeply reluctant to delegate power to outsiders who have no ties to the president’s election campaign.
Harward, who led commandos in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, enjoyed a stellar reputation among military officers, diplomats, and lawmakers from both parties. Other qualified candidates likely will think twice before accepting any offers for the post given the administration’s insistence on imposing limits on the advisor’s authority. David Petraeus, the retired four-star general who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, had been mentioned as a possible replacement but he would likely insist on similar conditions allowing him to choose his team.
As a result, the White House may be forced to draw from a less qualified pool of candidates and focus on those who would be less likely to push back against Bannon or other political advisors. Former colleagues of Harward, who has strong ties to Defense Secretary James Mattis dating back years, said he could have posed a potential problem for Bannon and his aides as he would have stood his ground in a disagreement over principle and insisted on clear lines of authority.
drumpf’s news conference coverage kind of drowned this story out, but it is a significant blow to the drumpf administration and something they can’t blow off as fake news.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.