President Donald Trump has announced his new pick for national security adviser to fill the vacancy left by the recently ousted Michael Flynn.
Trump announced that he had picked the career Army Officer Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to fill the role Monday at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla.
“His decision comes one week after he dismissed Flynn for misleading Vice President Pence and others about whether he discussed U.S. sanctions with Russia’s ambassador during the transition,” writes The Hill.
“He’s a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” said Trump about the new national security adviser. “I watched and read a lot over the last two days. He is highly respected by everyone in the military, and we’re very honored to have him.”
Apparently, Pence helped to make the selection.
Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, chief of staff, was serving as the interim national security advisor on the National Security Council. Trump believes that Kellogg and McMaster will work well together.
“I think that combination is very, very special,” said Trump to reporters while sitting in between the two men.
McMaster “is considered one of the Army’s top intellectuals. When he was a young major he published a best-selling book about failed military leadership during the Vietnam War and later went on to help pioneer counterinsurgency operations in Iraq,” writes Politico.
McMaster lately has been focused on modern threats like cyber warfare.
“I’m grateful to you for that opportunity, and I look forward to joining the national security team and doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people,” said McMaster to Trump.
This selection is a smart move by Trump. McMaster could help build bridges with some of the Republican critics of Trump.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that McMaster is “an outstanding choice for national security adviser. He is a man of genuine intellect, character and ability. I give President Trump great credit for this decision.”
McCain also said “could not imagine a better, more capable national security team than the one we have right now.”
There was speculation over the weekend about if the national security advisor would be able to pick their own staff or not.
“Trump’s first pick to replace Flynn, retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward, turned down the job, citing family reasons. Former CIA director and retired four-star Gen. David Petraeus also dropped out of consideration,” writes The Hill.
There were reports saying that both allegedly wanted control over their staff and Trump did not agree. However, the White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump would be giving McMaster the “full authority” to hire “whatever staff he sees fit.”
Another finalist for the position was John R. Bolton, who will be taking on another role.
“We had some really good meetings with him. Knows a lot,” said Trump. “He had a good number of ideas that I must tell you I agree very much with. So we’ll be talking with John Bolton in a different capacity.”
While, McMaster has some stances that are different from the president’s.
“McMaster is currently the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, where his job has been to figure out what the Army should look like in 2025 and beyond. He has placed particular emphasis on preparing to counter the kind of tactics and weapons that Russia, which he considers a rising threat to global stability, has used in its incursion in Ukraine,” writes Politico.
“This emphasis could put him at odds with Trump, who says he wants to improve relations with Russia and has expressed little concern about its aggressive behaviors in Eastern Europe and contends that Vladimir Putin can be bargained with.”
Nonetheless, McMaster isn’t afraid to do what he has to to get things done, even when it won’t be easy.
“He’s going to have to build a relationship with the boss, get in to see the boss,” said Dave Barno, a retired Lt. Gen. “There’s no question something he will do daily is tell the boss hard things that he doesn’t necessarily want to hear. And I think the president hired him with that expectation.”
Historian and author Michael Keane expressed similar sentiments about McMaster.
“Gen. McMaster is fearless,” said Keane, whose books on military history include the much-praised “Patton: Blood, Guts and Prayer,” and who was once embedded with Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq. “How many officers write books blasting the conduct of the top brass in the service and the civilians in charge and expect to move up?” reports Newsmax.
His ability to be bold when needed will be particularly helpful in his new role.
“Stocky, smart and soft-spoken with a sense of humor, General McMaster, for all his war-making experience, has little background in navigating Washington politics, which could be a challenge for him in his new role with a fractious national security team to corral,” writes The New York Times.