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.
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.
Ex-CIA chief labels PYD as ‘cousin’ of terrorist PKK
By Ayhan Simsek
Former CIA chief David Petraeus has labeled PYD group in Syria as the “cousin” of the terrorist PKK organization.
Speaking at a panel discussion at Munich Security Conference on late Friday, Petraeus acknowledged that PYD and its militia force YPG were linked to the PKK.
The former spy chief also commented on the US-Turkey relations during Barack Obama’s presidency.
Petraeus said different approaches of Washington and Ankara on Syria and Obama’s reluctance to get involved in a military conflict to oust Bashar al-Assad regime were the major sources of tensions.
“Another source of friction has been the U.S.’ enabling of Syrian Kurds, who have been quite good fighters on the battlefield in northern Syria against Daesh, but obviously they are cousins at the least with the PKK, who we have mutually recognized as a terrorist organization,” he said.
He said the relations between the two countries would likely be better under President Donald Trump era.
“Turkey plays an absolutely central role now, and I think that would get even more important,” said Petraeus, adding senior figures from the Trump administration have already signaled closer cooperation with Ankara.
Obama administration viewed the PYD as its ground ally against Daesh in Syria, while Ankara warned Washington about PYD’s close ties with the PKK.
More than 1,100 people, including security force personnel and civilians, have lost their lives since the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU — resumed its decades-old armed campaign in July 2015.