President Donald Trump has named Lt. Gen. McMaster as the new National Security Advisor. McMaster will replace the outgone Mike Flynn whose departure was surrounded by controversy.
Trump made this announcement on Monday at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he had been interviewing a number of candidates for the job.
President Trump described Lt. Gen Herbert Raymond McMaster as a “man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience” who is “highly respected by everybody in the military”.
Trump’s decision came one week after he dismissed Mike Flynn for misleading Vice-President Mike Pence and others on the details of his discussion with the Russian Ambassador to the United States during the transition.
Trump’s first choice for the role Vice-Admiral Robert Harward turned down the offer, saying he did so for personal reasons.
Lt. Gen. McMaster served in Iraq and Afghanistan where he worked on government anti-corruption drive. He was known to be thoughtful, outspoken and a military strategist.
The new National Security Advisor has written a book titled ‘Dereliction of Duty’, criticizing the United States’ decision-making during the Vietnam War.
He also led a cavalry regiment that retook the city of Tal Afar from al-Qaeda insurgents during the Iraq War, an operation that garnered national attention.
He also notably does not have close ties with Russia and was recently commissioned to study and bring out ways the US can counter Russia’s military advances.
In a statement, McMaster appreciated the opportunity given to him by President Trump to serve as the new National Security Adviser
”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.”
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Sen. John McCain , an outspoken Trump critic, called McMaster’s appointment an ”outstanding choice”.
”He is a man of genuine intellect, character and ability. I give President Trump great credit for this decision,” said McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
At the appointment of the new National Security Advisor, Retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who had been serving as interim national security adviser, will return to his previous role as chief of staff on the National Security Council.
Trump told reporters;
“I think the combination of Gen. Kellogg as the Chief of Staff on the National Security Council and Gen. McMaster as the National Security Advisor is very, very special.”
The post of National Security Advisor is one of the top jobs at the White House. The aide is tasked with coordinating the president’s foreign policy initiatives and military objectives across federal agencies.
Observers say the role’s influence varies from administration to administration, but the adviser is seen as one of the president’s key confidantes.
The adviser attends the National Security Council and may act as a broker between different government departments.
The role is also not subject to confirmation by the US Senate.