Retired general and former CIA chief David Petraeus is no longer a candidate to be President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, thwarted by differences over who controls staffing decisions within the White House’s National Security Council. Petraeus did not make the cut of those invited to Florida for an interview with the president this weekend, an administration official said.
The retired four-star general, who resigned as head of the CIA in 2012 after it was revealed he was having an affair with his biographer, had been on a short list for the job after Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn was fired.
Flynn stepped down after revelations that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump took office and misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.
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Finding a replacement has been a challenge for Trump. Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, the president’s first choice to take over for Flynn, turned down the offer, citing family and financial reasons.
A source familiar with the matter said Petraeus, like Harward, wanted control over staffing decisions within the NSC, and Trump was reluctant to grant that authority.
Trump is spending the weekend at his properties in Florida.
“Will be having many meetings this weekend at The Southern White House,” he wrote in a tweet on Saturday morning.
The president is working from the Trump International Golf Club, not far from his Mar-a-Lago resort. A White House official said he would be having meetings and might play golf.
The White House declined to provide details on who Trump planned to meet.
Acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg, former U.S. National Security Agency head Keith Alexander, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Lieutenant General H.R.
McMaster, who holds a senior post with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and former Army chief of staff Ray Odierno were also thought to be in contention.