Robert Harward
Robert Harward Reuters

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, according to Reuters.

Harward was offered the job by Trump after Michael Flynn was asked to step down earlier this week for misleading Vice President Mike Pence over his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

The White House official said that 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, according to Reuters, 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.

Flynn resigned late Monday evening amid reports that he misled Pence about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which included discussion of U.S. sanctions.

Flynn's departure came on the heels of revelations that the Justice Department had informed the White House that he could be subject to blackmail from Russia.

Subsequent reports indicated that FBI agents interviewed Flynn shortly after he took office as National Security Adviser about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that Trump asked Flynn to resign because of an “erosion of trust” and not because Flynn broke any laws.

Trump appeared to refer to Harward on Thursday at a presidential news conference, saying, "I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position."

The president also made clear that he asked Flynn to resign because the retired lieutenant general had not been completely truthful with Pence about his conversations with the ambassador.

"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.

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