McMaster's long, outspoken military career

H.R. McMaster is a military general with a reputation for speaking his mind, and rumors of tension with the President have clouded his White House tenure.

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 10:03 AM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 10:06 AM

President Donald Trump has apparently grown sick of H.R. McMaster and is preparing to jettison his national security adviser in the not-too-distant future. That news was first broken by The Washington Post on Thursday night but subsequently confirmed by CNN. It appears to now be a matter of when, not if, McMaster will leave.

What struck me most is not that firing McMaster would mean Trump is on course for three national security advisers in the space of 15-ish months -- although that's noteworthy. Instead, I was totally floored by this paragraph from the Post's McMaster story:

"Trump is now comfortable with ousting McMaster, with whom he never personally gelled, but is willing to take time executing the move because he wants to ensure both that the three-star Army general is not humiliated and that there is a strong successor lined up."

Ah ha! So, Trump doesn't want to actually fire McMaster right now because he doesn't want to humiliate him. But, Trump has clearly told enough people about his plan to get rid of McMaster -- and the fact that he dislikes what he believes to be the national security adviser's "gruff and condescending" manner -- that they feel comfortable sharing this information with the media. (The Post spoke to 19 Administration officials and advisers for their story including five who confirmed the plans to fire McMaster.)

Being fired is humiliating. Knowing you are going to be fired and twisting in the wind -- in a very public way -- before you are fired is even worse.

Let's say McMaster isn't let go -- and doesn't resign -- for the foreseeable future. How can he possibly be effective at his job -- inside or outside the White House -- given that there is this cloud looming over him? Every single person McMaster deals with will have read the stories about Trump's plans. It will be impossible for McMaster to do anything with the President's imprimatur on it.

All of which may well mean that McMaster resigns before he is fired. But, that doesn't change the fact that this is no way to run a railroad.

Remember that news of McMaster's likely ouster comes amid a week that saw Trump fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over Twitter -- and let go of the undersecretary of public affairs at the State Department because he put out a statement saying Tillerson was unaware of the why he was being fired.

It's also the same week that a bevy of Cabinet secretaries and a top staffer have been described in media reports as being on thin ice, a list that includes VA Secretary David Shulkin, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and chief of staff John Kelly.

Trump, for all of the bravado of his "you're fired" catchphrase, has proven to be less willing to do the deed as president than everyone expects -- with Tillerson being a case in point.

The McMaster move -- I'm-going-to-fire-him-but-just-not-yet-or-maybe-I-will-do-it-now-or-maybe-he-will-just-quit -- is another example of a distinct lack of class (and being a grown up) within this White House. Whatever you think of McMaster's style or policy views, it's impossible to justify leaving him hanging out to dry like this.

For a president already struggling to recruit top tier talent to join his White House, the moves on Tillerson and McMaster this week will further complicate attempts to bring in the best and brightest -- or even the third best and third brightest.

If Trump would do what he did to Tillerson or embarrass McMaster so publicly, you have to wonder what he would do to a less senior official within his ranks.

That will have a further chilling effect on an administration already heavily undermanned to carry out the basic business of governance.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 735999

Reported Deaths: 13486
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1007151752
Lake54249977
Allen40946680
St. Joseph36335553
Hamilton35829408
Elkhart28844443
Tippecanoe22475219
Vanderburgh22367397
Porter18946311
Johnson18067381
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Clark13036192
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Monroe11957172
Delaware10755187
Howard10001218
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Warrick7799155
Floyd7690178
Grant7098174
Wayne7072199
Boone6745101
Morgan6611140
Dubois6166117
Marshall6111112
Cass5876105
Dearborn583178
Henry5785105
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Switzerland7948
Union71410
Ohio57111
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1091623

Reported Deaths: 19528
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1268061406
Cuyahoga1132982134
Hamilton804211211
Montgomery518231015
Summit47606955
Lucas42618792
Butler38548585
Stark32661909
Lorain25199486
Warren24390300
Mahoning21795588
Lake20846371
Clermont19880240
Delaware18608133
Licking16488212
Fairfield16327200
Trumbull16196468
Medina15379266
Greene15143244
Clark14096299
Wood13168189
Portage12966206
Allen11740232
Richland11433199
Miami10713220
Wayne8923214
Columbiana8881229
Muskingum8831133
Pickaway8596121
Marion8561136
Tuscarawas8509245
Erie7958155
Hancock6944128
Ashtabula6904172
Ross6876156
Geauga6741148
Scioto6444102
Belmont5978168
Union575448
Lawrence5590102
Jefferson5583151
Huron5462120
Sandusky5380122
Darke5374126
Seneca5311122
Washington5228109
Athens520858
Auglaize494986
Mercer481585
Shelby470293
Knox4513110
Madison439363
Putnam4301101
Ashland426590
Fulton426469
Defiance424697
Crawford3993107
Brown397557
Logan383276
Preble381398
Clinton374163
Ottawa369081
Highland356862
Williams343475
Champaign335358
Guernsey317653
Jackson314152
Perry295950
Morrow287239
Fayette283550
Hardin271964
Henry270366
Coshocton266157
Holmes2625101
Van Wert244263
Adams240053
Pike238634
Gallia236749
Wyandot232155
Hocking216462
Carroll192448
Paulding174340
Meigs145540
Noble134137
Monroe132542
Harrison109637
Morgan108823
Vinton84915
Unassigned02
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