Trump sought to block Pence pick for key national security post: report

Trump sought to block Pence pick for key national security post: report
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE reportedly tried to prevent Vice President Pence from appointing his chosen national security adviser, citing the staffer’s past opposition to Trump’s candidacy. 

Axios reported Sunday that Trump was upset when he learned Pence was hiring Jon Lerner to advise him on national security and foreign policy. Lerner currently serves as a deputy for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyPentagon sends B-52 bombers to Europe for exercises amid tensions with Russia Overnight Health Care: Trump officials sued over Medicaid work requirements in New Hampshire | Analysis contradicts HHS claims on Arkansas Medicaid changes | Azar signals HHS won't back down on e-cigs 40 years of Iranian threats against Israel and few pay any attention MORE.

The Washington Post reported last Thursday that Pence hired Lerner, and that Lerner would continue to work with Haley despite his new role advising the vice president. 

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Prior to joining Haley’s team in the Trump administration, Lerner advised the super PAC supporting Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game GOP eager to exploit Dem court-packing fight Rubio's pragmatic thinking on China MORE’s (R-Fla.) 2016 presidential campaign.

He also worked as a pollster with the Club for Growth, a conservative group that ran anti-Trump ads during the 2016 campaign and has at times been critical of the president’s policies. 

His past roles bothered Trump, Axios reported, citing three sources. He questioned why Pence would hire Lerner, and told chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE to block the move.

The White House reportedly learned of the hire as Pence was traveling to Peru for the Summit of the Americas. After the vice president landed, he spoke to Trump and reassured him of Lerner's qualifications, Axios reported.

Pence is in South America for the gathering of leaders of the Western Hemisphere after Trump announced last week he would no longer attend. The White House said Trump would remain in the U.S. to coordinate a response to the recent suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Pence's addition of Lerner to his national security team comes as Trump's new national security adviser, John Bolton, reshapes his team as well.