Ret. Army Gen. Jack Keane was asked to serve as secretary of defense by President-elect Trump, but said no. NPR reports that Kean declined the offer for personal reasons:
I was asked to serve, but I’m not able to. I have some personal issues surrounding the death of my wife recently, and I explained all that to Mr. Trump, and he was very gracious and understanding, and quite supportive.
Keane’s wife, Theresa, died in late June after a fight with Parkinson”s Disease. The couple were married for 51 years and raised two sons.
According to the Hill, Keane, who visited Trump Tower in New York, on Thursday, recommended retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis and former CIA Director David Petraeus for the position.
Trump meet with Mattis Saturday at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J and this morning praised the general in a tweet:
General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who is being considered for Secretary of Defense, was very impressive yesterday. A true General’s General!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2016
Petraeus met with Trump just before the election. Petraeus resigned as CIA director in 2012 after the FBI discovered he was having an affair with Paula Broadwell, his biographer. The resulting investigation revealed that Petraeus had given Broadwell highly classified information.
On April 23, 2015, Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials. He was given a two-year probationary period and a fine of $100,000.
It is unclear whether Petraeus kept a security clearance, but he continued to advise the White House on counter terrorism strategy in Iraq — possibly requiring him to have access to classified materials.