The White House has announced another staffing shake-up. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, will be leaving his post. He will be replaced by John R. Bolton, former United States ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster’s departure is being treated as a resignation, and not a firing.
I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
In addition, General McMaster will be retiring from the military. Sources have indicated that this has been brewing for several weeks. McMaster “decided to speed up his departure,” The NY Times writes, “in part because questions about his status were casting a shadow over his conversations with foreign officials.”
Trump’s high profile meeting with North Korea may have something to do with the resignation, too. After replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump needed a committed team for that meeting. With Mike Pompeo in as Secretary of State, and Bolton in as national security adviser, his cabinet may appear more cohesive.
Unlike Tillerson’s departure, McMaster is reportedly leaving on good terms. The resignation is being called a “mutual decision” and reports that McMaster was upset about Trump’s phone call to Vladimir V. Putin, The White House notes, were not part of the decision.
“Mr. Bolton,” The Times writes, “who will take office April 9, has met regularly with Mr. Trump to discuss foreign policy, and was on a list of candidates for national security adviser. He was in the West Wing with Mr. Trump to discuss the job on Thursday.”
“H.R. McMaster has served his country with distinction for more than 30 years. He has won many battles and his bravery and toughness are legendary,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “General McMaster’s leadership of the National Security Council staff has helped my administration accomplish great things to bolster America’s national security.”
McMaster, like Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, was a celebrated appointment. Many felt like McMaster would be a calming force on President Trump. Yet he may not have fit in as well as was hoped.
“General McMaster’s serious, somber style and preference for order made him an uncomfortable fit with a president whose style is looser,” The Times notes. Trump “has little patience for the detail and nuance of complex national security issues. They had differed on policy, with General McMaster cautioning against ripping up the nuclear deal with Iran without a strategy for what would come next, and tangling with Mr. Trump over the strategy for American forces in Afghanistan.”
Then, in February, McMaster acknowledged that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
“General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems,” Trump tweeted. “Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!”
Now the task of dealing with Putin and with Korea will fall squarely on the shoulders of Bolton.