Retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward has turned down President Trump’s offer to take over as national security adviser, a senior administration official confirmed to the Washington Examiner on Thursday evening.

“I spent 40 years as a Naval Officer where I was deployed and in combat for the bulk of my life. Since retiring I have the opportunity to address financial and family issues that would have been challenging in this 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 wrote in a statement.

“My thoughts and prayers are with those that carry such heavy burdens and responsibility for taking care of our country’s national security concerns. God bless this great country of ours.”

But Trump is attempting to convince Harward to change his mind.

Former national security adviser Mike Flynn resigned from the job earlier this week after controversy broke out over his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition period.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump told reporters at a White House press conference that his decision to fire Flynn was easier to stomach because he had an “outstanding” candidate to hire as a replacement.

“Harward is conflicted between the call of duty and the obvious dysfunctionality,” a source told Financial Times.

Harward currently works as a senior executive at Lockheed Martin. In talks with Trump, he had reportedly asked if he could bring in his own team, though K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, has been asked to stay on following Flynn’s departure.

As a member of the National Security Council during former President George W. Bush’s administration and former coworker of now-Defense Sec. James Mattis, the administration sees Harward as well qualified for the job.

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Harward would enter the White House amid a period of turmoil for senior staffers. Flynn’s sudden departure — and the unclear circumstances leading up to it — created a headache for the administration that Trump attempted to fix on Thursday by reaffirming the strength of his West Wing team during a press conference.

But Trump’s national security team still faces mounting criticism from political opponents, and even from some members of his own party. The White House made waves when, during Trump’s first week in office, chief strategist Steve Bannon was made a regular at National Security Council meetings through a controversial executive action.

If he accepts Trump’s job offer, Harward will be tasked with helping Trump navigate a response to fresh provocations from the Russians, such as their decision to sail a Russian vessel close to the coast of Connecticut, as well as find a way to implement the president’s pledge to put Iran “on notice” for its aggressive regional behavior over the past several months.

Sarah Westwood and Gabby Morrongiello contributed to this report.

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