So the list of potentials to fill the national security adviser slot, left vacant by Michael Flynn, is short by one.
Retired General and former CIA Director, David Petraeus has reportedly withdrawn his name from consideration.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal Friday, Petraeus’s name was floated for the role, but the White House was miffed by his concerns about staffing and independence. It’s not clear how seriously he was being considered.
Still reportedly on the short list for the position are acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg, a retired three-star Army general and Flynn’s chief of staff, former United Nations ambassador John Bolton, and Army strategist Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.
The three remaining contenders were to meet with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday, separately, to discuss the details of the position, as the president considers each one.
Retired General and former Chief of Staff, Gen. Ray Odierno may also be in consideration, according to the WSJ.
Earlier Friday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz expressed his preference for Bolton to fill the position.
Trump’s first choice to fill the vacancy was Vice Admiral Robert Harward, but citing family and financial reasons, Harward declined the position.
However, contradictory reports have emerged over why Harward turned down the offer. According to a Financial Times report, a source familiar with Harward’s decision said he was concerned about whether the top advisers in Trump’s administration would allow him to install his own staff on the National Security Council. Flynn’s deputy, K.T. McFarland, told The Hill on Tuesday that Trump had “asked that I stay on.”
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes reported Friday night that Harward’s decision was not based primarily on staffing, but on the fact that the White House would not meet his conditions — and President Trump’s press conference sealed the deal, a former national security official familiar with his decision told MSNBC.
Yeah, that press conference was definitely whack.
What’s more, Harward wanted a clear chain of command and a direct line to Trump, wherein he would be the only national security adviser. He also wanted a National Security Council without Steve Bannon’s grizzled mug staring at him from across the table.
Petraeus said on Friday at a conference in Munich that anyone considering the job should have control over personnel and gain a commitment from the White House to have a disciplined process for crafting security policy.
“Whoever it is that would agree to take that position certainly should do so with some very, very significant assurances that he or she would have authorities over the personnel of the organization, that there would be a commitment to a disciplined process and procedures,” Petraeus said at the Munich Security Conference.
Officials told the WSJ that the White House wasn’t open to Petraeus’s demands.
Because you’re not going to have a say in this administration on anything that doesn’t filter through Bannon or Kushner, first.