Petraeus, a former CIA director and former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told BBC Radio Four that his policy views don’t align with President Donald Trump’s and that he has no plans to serve in this administration.
“I’ve always qualified any willingness as having to meet certain conditions, if you will,” Petraeus said in an interview that aired Monday. “I think there does have to be policy alignment [with Trump], and I’m not sure that exists, I’m afraid.”
“I cannot envision returning to government at this time,” Petraeus added.
His name had been rumored to be on a short list of contenders to succeed Mattis, who submitted a searing resignation letter to Trump a day after the president announced the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Syria.
The Trump administration previously considered Petraeus for secretary of state or national security adviser, he told Politico in December 2017, adding that he would still be interested in serving under Trump if “a specific set of circumstances” was met.
Even if Petraeus were nominated to serve in the Trump administration, he would likely face significant pushback in the Senate. He was forced to resign as CIA director in November 2012 ― having served just 14 months in the role ― after the FBI uncovered evidence that he had been involved in an extramarital affair.
In March 2015, Petraeus pleaded guilty to removing classified information and giving it to his biographer, Paula Broadwell, with whom he had the affair.
Petraeus replaced Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in June 2010 after then-President Barack Obama forced McChrystal to resign.
McChrystal told ABC News that he would reject an offer to serve in the Trump administration if asked. He called the president “shady” and dishonest.
“It’s important for me to work for people who I think are basically honest,” McChrystal said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” that aired Sunday. “I don’t think he tells the truth.”