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Trump has decided to fire his national security adviser McMaster, says report

Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton and National Security Council chief of staff Keith Kellogg are among those being considered to succeed McMaster.

world Updated: Mar 16, 2018 21:25 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,US.Ambassador,HR McMaster
File photo of US national security adviser HR McMaster.(AFP)

US President Donald Trump wants to fire his national security adviser HR McMaster, according to a news report.

The Washington Post, citing unidentified officials, reported that Trump had recently told his chief of staff John Kelly he wants to replace the NSA. The Post said he finds McMaster too rigid and complained that his briefings go on for too long.

Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton and National Security Council chief of staff Keith Kellogg are among those being considered to succeed McMaster.

Trump picked McMaster to replace Michael Flynn, his first NSA, who was fired for lying about his contacts with Russians and who is not cooperating with Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

On Thursday, the White House pushed back on the report. “Just spoke to @POTUS and Gen. H.R. McMaster - contrary to reports they have a good working relationship and there are no changes at the NSC,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted.

McMaster’s exit, when and if it happens, will come amid a wider shake-up of the administration that Trump had hinted after firing Rex Tillerson as secretary of staff. “There will always be change,” he had told reporters. “And I think you want to see change. I want to also see different ideas.”

There is speculation that Kelly too may depart the administration, despite denials from Trump and the White House. Veteran affairs secretary David Shulkin, housing secretary Ben Carson, environment protection agency administrator Scott Pruitt and interior secretary Ryan Zinke are others who could be on Trump’s exit list over reports of misgovernance and questionable government expenses.

But such denials from the White House or Trump himself have not counted for much in the past. When reports of Tillerson’s imminent exit first surfaced in December, Trump had said he was safe in his job, calling the reports “fake news”.

There has been a steady stream of exits from the Trump White House, starting just days after he took office in January 2017 — Flynn was the first to do, followed by four White House communications directors, chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Tillerson. And as Trump has indicated there are likely to be more.

First Published: Mar 16, 2018 09:15 IST