President Donald Trump has decided to remove White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster from the administration, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
The Post said the president is “now comfortable” removing McMaster, but is taking his time in announcing the decision so as to not humiliate the Army lieutenant general and to ensure a smooth transition. The news outlet cited five sources with knowledge of the president’s plans.
If that decision is made official, McMaster would become the second man to hold the position to leave since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017. He has had the task of advising a president who often delivers unfiltered thoughts about delicate national security situations like North Korea’s weapons development and the Iran nuclear deal by tweet.
McMaster’s departure would remove a knowledgeable foreign policy voice from a Trump inner circle that lacks many officials experienced in national security. Since taking the position, McMaster faced criticism from some of Trump’s nationalist supporters, who attacked him as a “globalist” who represented established thinking on national security.
The Army lieutenant general drew Trump’s ire recently by saying the evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election is “incontrovertible,” following more than a dozen indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Trump lashed out at McMaster in a late-night Twitter post last month.
“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!” Trump wrote.
According to the Post, Trump has complained that McMaster’s briefings were too lengthy and seemed irrelevant. The newspaper said possible candidates to fill the post include former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and National Security Council Chief of Staff Keith Kellogg.
The president’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, got forced out in February 2017 after misleading White House officials about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. He later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about those meetings.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect when President Donald Trump criticized White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster in a late-night Twitter post.