So, what do you think of Trump’s pick? A strong leader? Check. Someone who isn’t afraid to stand up to authority? Check. Sounds pretty good to us.
President Donald Trump has picked Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to be his new national security adviser.
Keith Kellogg had been doing the job since Mike Flynn resigned late last Monday. He will slide into the role of McMaster’s chief of staff, the president announced this afternoon.
McMaster is currently a director at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. His new job will entail being Trump’s in-house national security expert. He will stay on active duty, the White House confirmed.
‘He’s a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,’ Trump said of McMaster in an impromptu statement from his Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago. ‘He is highly respected by everybody in the military, and we’re very honored to have him.’
Trump met with four candidates for the position over the weekend: former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, McMaster, Kellogg and Lieutenant General Robert Caslen.
The White House said yesterday that Trump planned to meet with some of them again today.
Trump himself had said on Friday that Kellogg was ‘very much in play.’ So were ‘three others,’ the president said but did not name.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus was floated as a candidate for the position, but the Wall Street Journal reported that he took himself out of the running.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed to reporters who went with the president to Mar-a-Lago that Petraeus was no longer under consideration.
Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation last Monday after the retired retired army general lost his trust, with the intention of giving the national security job to Robert Harward, a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral.
But Harward turned Trump down, saying in a statement that he couldn’t commit to the 24/7 nature of the job. He cited ‘financial and family issues’ as his other reasons.
Sources familiar with the talks told CNN that chaos at the White House and conflict over the level of authority he would have had kept him from saying yes.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus disputed those reports on Friday morning. He said on Fox and Friends that Harward’s ‘family…couldn’t go for it.’
Harward, 60, is married and has two adult children, ages 31 and 24, according to public records.
His thanks, but no thanks, to the National Security Council gig left the Trump administration in limbo after Flynn’s untimely departure.
The White House had been talking to Harward for days before Flynn was fired, and Trump suggested Thursday that his plans to hire the former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command made it easier for him to dismiss his incumbent national security adviser.
Trump settled on McMaster Monday, saying in his Mar-a-Lago remarks that he believes McMaster and Kellogg, whom he called a ‘terrific man’ will make a great team.