Well that didn’t take long. After President Trump unceremoniously You’re Fired conspiracy theorist whackjob and apparent Russian stooge Michael Flynn from his post as national security advisor, he then publicly offered the job to not-insane and eminently qualified retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, who then publicly said thanks but no thanks, and privately said a job running the Trump administration’s national security flying monkey brigade would be a “shit sandwich.”
Trump is sure to say that the story about what Harward told his friend about not wanting to join such a chaotic dumpster fire is “fake news” because it was reported by CNN.
Foreign Policy, a publication your editor had to cite to in college political science papers and which has found a surprisingly strong voice against the confused and frightening Trump worldview, did a good job summarizing Admiral Harward’s decision-making process:
Retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward didn’t go looking for the job of national security advisor. He was asked to consider taking it.
He didn’t particularly want the job. He is retired from the military, and his wife thought this was supposed to be the time in their lives when family finally took precedence over combat.
But Harward felt obliged to consider because he wants to help his country, no matter who the president is. He has buddies who are still in uniform. They can’t just walk away from the fight, even if they want to. For them, he felt obligated to them to try to make this work. Plus, Defense Secretary James Mattis was twisting his arm off, and Harward has a lot of respect and time for him.
But here’s the problem: Harward is a national security professional. In his conversations with White House officials this week, he began to fear that Trump didn’t understand what that phrase means — that is, someone who thinks rigorously about formulating and implementing foreign policy. Harward knows, as Trump does not, what it means to execute policy on the ground, and especially how difficult it can be to figure out how to implement ill-conceived strategy into an acceptable outcome. He has seen comrades bleed and die on orders he issued.
Partly because of such experiences, he understands that the job is far bigger than one person. To be done right, it requires a team. Harward is also a SEAL veteran, which means, among other things, that he is a team member. He wanted his own team, people he trusts, with experience and expertise. He didn’t just want to drive Trump’s clown car. One report said he wound up considering the job a “shit sandwich.”
In short, he was willing — if he could do the job right. Listening to Trump, he felt he couldn’t do it right. So he went all Johnny Paycheck on the president.
We hope Trump eventually gets tired of how HARD all this presidenting is and tells America “take this job and shove it.”