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Donald Trump Recruits H.R. McMaster As National Security Adviser

Deadline logo Deadline 2/20/2017 Erik Pedersen
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UPDATED with Trump tweet: If at first you don’t succeed…

Donald Trump today chose Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to fill the National Security Adviser post left open after his first choice – Michael Flynn – was forced out last week. POTUS made the announcement this morning from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. McMaster, who Fox News called “a warrior-scholar deemed an expert in counter insurgency,” is a career Army man who served in the Gulf War and wrote Dereliction of Duty, a 1997 book that took the U.S. government to task over its handling of the Vietnam War.

Retired Army Gen. Keith Kellogg will be McMaster’s chief of staff.

Trump took quite awhile to tweet about his pick – gasp! – but he eventually got around to it:

Of course, there’s plenty riding on this NSA choice in the wake of Flynn’s gig being shot down by the Russians, so to speak. News outlets feasted last week as the retired general was fired because, as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer put it, “This was a matter of trust.” Spicer acknowledged that Trump had known since late January that Flynn did not tell Vice President Mike Pence the truth when he initially denied talking about sanctions against Russian with that country’s ambassador to the United States while Obama still was in office.

While mulling – fake news alert – a potential U.S. invasion of Sweden, here’s what the president told reporters in making his NSA selection today:

“I just wanted to announce, we’ve been working all weekend very diligently… that Gen. H.R. McMaster will become the national security adviser. He’s a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience. 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.

“He also has known for a long time, Keith Kellogg, who I also have gotten to know this terrific man. They will be working together and Keith is going to be chief of staff. And I think that combination is something very, very special.

“I met with many other people. I have tremendous respect for the people I met with. I know John Bolton, we’ll be asking him to work with us in a somewhat different capacity… We had some really good meetings with him. Knows a lot. 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. And we’ll be talking to some of the other generals that I’ve met. But I really, really gained a lot of respect for.”

 “President, thank you very much,” McMaster said. “I would just like to say what a privilege it is to be able to continue serving our nation. 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. Thank you very much.”
A reporter asked if Pence played a role in helping make the pick, and POTUS answered: “He did.”

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