McMaster out at White House; Bush-Reagan neocon set to assume top national security role

Following weeks of speculation over his future in the Trump administration, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster will resign his position and be replaced by former UN ambassador John Bolton.

Serving as head of the National Security Council for just over one year, Gen. McMaster is the second person to hold the position, taking over for Michael Flynn in February 2017.

Announcing Bolton’s appointment beginning on April 9, President Trump thanked McMaster on Twitter and expressed gratitude for his service.

Shortly after news of McMaster’s exit from the administration broke, the White House released a statement outlining McMaster’s contributions to the successes of the administration.

“(McMaster) helped develop our America First National Security Strategy, revitalize our alliances in the Middle East, smash ISIS, bring North Korea to the table, and strengthen our nation’s prosperity.  This work and those achievements will ensure that America builds on its economic and military advantages,” it read.

In a statement of his own, McMaster said his departure from the White House would similarly a draw a end to his public service and would be requesting retirement from the military.

According to White House officials, Trump had reportedly revealed plans to remove McMaster to Chief of Staff John Kelly last week and had met with Bolton at least twice in the past seven days.

“(Trump and McMaster) have been discussing this for some time. The timeline was expedited as they both felt it was important to have the new team in place, instead of constant speculation,” a White House official told CNN. “This was not related to any one moment or incident, rather it was the result of ongoing conversations between the two.”

The appointment of Bolton could signal a more aggressive foreign policy and less leaks coming from the West Wing, the latter exemplified by his outrage at details of a congratulatory phone call Trump made to Russian President Vladimir Putin on his election victory earlier in the week.

A neoconservative known for his hawkish views and fierce criticism of the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal, Bolton is also famous for his support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and nation building, as well as taking a firm stance against North Korea.

Over the past several months, Bolton has penned several editorials recommending the U.S. retain the option for military action against rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang.

“Bolton’s tendency to try to solve every geopolitical problem with the American military first is a troubling one,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “I hope he will temper his instinct to commit the men and women of our armed forces to conflicts around the globe, when we need to be focused on building the middle class here at home.”

Bolton, 69, served the Reagan and both Bush administrations, is expected to assume his role ahead of expected face-to-face negotiations over the nuclear standoff with the Kim regime.

McMaster’s departure follows the March 13 dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the unexpected resignation of Trump attorney, John Dowd, who handled the Russian collusion case.

 

[Politico] [NPR] [CNN] [BBC] [Photo courtesy VOA]