‘A Big Damn Mess’

Pence’s Pick for National Security Adviser Quits After Trump Objection

Vice President Mike Pence’s pick for national security adviser has withdrawn after President Trump made clear that he was against the appointment that created “a big damn mess” in the Republican Party. News of Jon Lerner’s hiring caused inevitable tension in the administration because the president believed he was a “Never Trump” campaigner—he is known to have crafted attack ads for the Club for Growth’s multimillion-dollar anti-Trump campaign during the GOP presidential primaries. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump sought to block Lerner’s appointment and, later that day, Pence’s press secretary confirmed Lerner had withdrawn from taking on the role. “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 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.”