WASHINGTON, U.S. - Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's potential replacement Retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward informed the president on Thursday he could not accept the position.
The 60-year-old retired Navy SEAL cited "financial and family issues that would have been challenging in this position" as the reason for declining the top position.
"Like all service members understand, and live, this job requires 24 hours a day, 7 days a week focus and commitment to do it right. I currently could not make that commitment," Harward said in a statement, reported by CNN's Jake Tapper.
"My thoughts and prayers are with those that carry such heavy burdens and responsibility for taking care of our country's national security concerns," he added.
According to two sources familiar with the decision, Harward, who is reported close to Defense Secretary James Mattis, turned down the job in part because he wanted to bring in his own team, putting him at odd with Trump.
A senior Republican familiar with the process said "a question of clarity regarding the lines of authority" was a reason for Harward's decision.
"I wouldn't call it a disagreement as much as questions that could not be resolved to his comfort level," the senior Republican said.
The president is reportedly trying to convince him to reconsider his decision.
Reacting to news of Harward turning down the post, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted, "Robert Harward’s decision to not take over General Flynn’s old job is the latest evidence that the Trump WH is falling into utter disarray."
Flynn resigned from the position on Monday night after reports that he misled the vice president and White House officials about discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump's inauguration.
Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who previously served as Flynn's chief of staff on the National Security Council, was named acting national security adviser by the president.
At a presidential news conference, Trump referred to Flynn's resignation, saying, “Mike Flynn is a fine person,” he said.
“He was just doing his job...I don’t think he did anything wrong.”
“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.”
The real problem, Trump, however, charged, was that “classified information that was given illegally.”