Vice President Mike Pence’s pick for his national security adviser stepped aside Sunday evening after it was reported that President Donald Trump had sought to block his hiring at the White House.
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“Tonight Jon informed the vice president that he was withdrawing from coming on board as national security adviser. Vice President Pence holds Jon Lerner in the highest regard and expressed his deep gratitude for Jon’s willingness to consider joining our team,” said Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, in a statement.
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Pence had tapped Lerner, who currently serves as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley’s deputy, to serve as his national security adviser. But, according to a report from Axios, Trump learned of Lerner’s background with the conservative Club for Growth, which ran anti-Trump ads in 2016, and was “furious” Pence wanted to bring Lerner onto his team.
Lerner will stay on as a deputy to Haley.
The president’s reported intervention in the hiring is an unusual move, with the president normally giving Pence great latitude in his hiring decisions.