When Michael Flynn resigned from the White House this week, it was good news for the nation overall for an important reason: Flynn was a ridiculous choice for National Security Advisor. His departure opened the door for a more qualified and sensible choice.When we learned this week that retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward was offered the job, there were bipartisan sighs of relief. Harward is broadly respected, highly qualified, and exactly the kind of person who would help set minds at ease in this otherwise volatile and erratic administration.It was therefore an important development yesterday when Harward turned down the job.Officially, the retired military leader cited family obligations, but a Financial Times report suggested conditions at the increasingly troubled White House played an important role in Harward's thinking.
...Mr Harward is said to have turned Mr Trump down. "Harward is conflicted between the call of duty and the obvious dysfunctionality," said one person with first hand knowledge of the discussions between Mr Trump and Mr Harward.
CNN's Jake Tapper, quoting a source close to Harward, said he was reluctant to join Team Trump because the White House seems so chaotic. Harward reportedly characterized the job offer as a "s**t sandwich."At this point, it's understandable for Trump's critics to feel a sense of schadenfreude. The flailing White House is in so much trouble that its breakdowns are becoming a self-perpetuating cycle: Trump World is failing to govern, which creates chaos, which creates a need for mature officials to fill key positions of authority, which can't happen because capable people see Trump World failing to govern and run in the opposite direction. That in turn creates chaos, which creates a need for mature officials....The consequences of this, however, are real and alarming.Love Trump or hate him, Americans benefit when the White House meets some minimum standards of functionality. When it's a dysfunctional circus, run by inept amateurs, it dramatically increases the likelihood of dangerous failures.Not to put too fine a point on this, but we should want competent people to join the administration, not because it's good for Trump, but because it's good for us. When people like Robert Harward look at the White House and say, "No thanks, I don't want any part of that mess," it's yet another loss for the president, but it doesn't do the country at large any favors, either.