Vice President Mike Pence has nominated Jon Lerner to serve as his national security adviser. Lerner was Pence’s top pick for filling his senior staff position, but things took a turn for the worse after President Donald Trump intervened in the decision making.
As reported by Axios, Trump wanted to ban Lerner from entering the halls of the West Wing over what Trump viewed as past opposition to his candidacy.
The President believed Lerner was a card-carrying member of the ‘Never Trump’ movement because Lerner crafted brutal attack ads for Club for Growth’s multimillion-dollar anti-Trump blitz during the Republican primaries.”
After news broke out about Trump’s hostility towards Lerner, the now-former nominee decided to throw in the towel and not serve for the vice president.
Pence was reportedly devastated after receiving Lerner’s resignation. Pence’s team argued internally that he’d done a great job for the past year working as Nikki Haley’s deputy, has previously advised members of Congress on foreign policy, and would be well-supported in Pence’s office by subject matter experts. Despite the recognition, Trump’s ego would never let Lerner step foot into the White House.
According to Axios, this incident is the first time Trump and Pence really didn’t see eye to eye on:
It’s a highly unusual event, as Trump typically gives Pence a long leash on personnel appointments. This is the first time the President has tried to block Pence from filling a senior staff position. The scene also highlights — once again — the extraordinary importance Trump places on personal loyalty.”
Trump was also furious with Pence for even thinking about appointing Lerner. Two sources briefed on the President’s private conversations said that the president wondered out aloud: “Why would Mike do that?”
Ultimately, this leaves Trump’s White House will yet another empty seat to fill as Pence and his team are squirming to find a suitable candidate to replace Lerner.
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