Only two days after starting the position as new national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Joe Lerner stepped down on Sunday as a result of a behind-the-scenes White House argument which hit the headlines.
According to Reuters, a White House official said that the appointment of Lerner to Pence’s team was one of the most short-lived personnel moves in a White House that is known for turbulent staff turnover and infighting.
Lerner’s drama is also the first to envelop the vice president, who is trying really hard to stay out of Trump’s drama.
Pence’s office released a statement on Friday announcing that Jon Lerner, a senior aide to United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, would become Pence’s top adviser on foreign policy issues. However, by Sunday night, the vice president’s office had issued a second announcement saying that Lerner had withdrawn.
The issue boiled over on Friday when Pence and his senior staff were on an eight-hour flight to Peru to attend the Summit of the Americas, Reuters wrote.
The White House official said that President Donald Trump became really upset when he was told in error that Lerner was a “Never Trumper” – a term that describes anti-Trump Republicans.
Apparently, Lerner supported Republican Senator Marco Rubio during the primary race be the Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election. According to Reuters, Vice President Pence phoned Trump and cleared up the tension.
Axios reported on the White House drama on Sunday saying that Trump had initially told his chief of staff John Kelly to ax the appointment and questioned why Pence would have made the pick.
Lerner then offered to step-down on Sunday night in order “to minimize the amount of conflict and internal drama,” the White House official said, where Pence confirmed that is the best option. Lerner now will continue his position working for Haley.