Pence’s pick for national security adviser backs out
Vice President Mike Pence’s pick for his national security adviser withdrew from consideration, it was announced Sunday night, as the candidate’s “Never Trump” past reportedly drew the president’s ire.
Pence’s office released a statement late Sunday that praised Jon Lerner but said Lerner has told the vice president that he does not want the job.
“Tonight Jon informed the vice president that he was withdrawing from coming on board as national security adviser and the vice president accepted his decision,” Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, said in a statement.
“Vice President Pence holds Jon Lerner in the highest regard and expressed his deep gratitude for Jon’s willingness to consider joining our team.”
The development came hours after Axios reported that Trump believed Lerner, a longtime Republican strategist, was a member of the “Never Trump” movement.
Lerner had helped the conservative Club for Growth create ads as part of a multimillion-dollar offensive against Trump during the GOP primaries.
“Why would Mike do that,” Trump reportedly said Friday after learning that Pence picked Lerner to lead his foreign policy team.
Trump then ordered White House chief of staff John Kelly to block Lerner, until Pence convinced him otherwise, the site said.
Despite the back-and-forth, Lerner was out of the running by day’s end.