Preibus slams reports of staffing concerns among leading contenders, ‘not based on fact’.
The search to replace former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn following his resignation Feb. 13 has been the subject of intense media speculation. As the president narrows down his search he promised that all of the candidates to replace Flynn were “great.”
“I’ve been thinking about somebody for the last, I would say, for the last three or four days. We will see what happens. I’m meeting with that person tomorrow.”
“I’ve been thinking about somebody for the last, I would say, for the last three or four days. We will see what happens. I’m meeting with that person tomorrow,” Trump said during a gaggle with reporters aboard Air Force One Saturday. “A good man. He’s a very good man. They’re all good, they’re all great people.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that retired general and former CIA Director David Petraeus withdrew his name from consideration because Trump allegedly wouldn’t “guarantee that his next national security adviser will have full control over staffing and process.”
Reports also cited candidates’ alleged concerns over the presence of Steve Bannon, chief strategist and senior counselor to the president, on the National Security Council.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus pushed back on those reports Sunday, saying the stories were “not based on fact.”
“But as to the staff thing at the NSA, the new NSA director can do whatever that he or she or wants to do with the staffing at the NSA,” Priebus said in an interview with host Chris Wallace that aired Sunday on “Fox News Sunday.”
Priebus confirmed that Trump would be interviewing candidates Sunday. When Wallace pressed him on the issue of Bannon’s presence on the NSC, Priebus reaffirmed the president’s promise.
“The president has said very clearly that the new NSA director will have total and complete say over the makeup of the NSC and all of the components of the NSC. And there is no demand made by President Trump on any candidate for NSA director at all,” Priebus told Wallace. “So those reports that you’re citing, those are more fake news stories that are completely untrue. We’ve never put demands on an incoming NSA director.”