Former military officers who served with General H.R. McMaster believe that the only reason that the three star general was chosen to serve as Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser is so his credentials and credibility can be used by an administration that has huge deficiencies in both.
During recent weeks, the White House has increasingly marched McMaster out in public as the administration’s “political shield,” according to a new report by The Daily Beast, adding that McMaster has acted more as a White House spokesperson than a National Security Adviser. McMaster was sent out to justify Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s request for secret communications with Russians. The general’s former comrades disagree with his dismissive response, telling The Beast that Kushner’s actions went “far beyond” just being “discreet diplomacy.”
The general’s former colleagues are quietly encouraging him to retire from military service and leave the administration. As a serving officer, McMaster is prohibited from refusing to serve when appointed by the President, which is part of the reason that he was rumored to have been asked to be Trump’s National Security Adviser — because he cannot refuse.
“It makes me uncomfortable that a serving military officer is in that role,” said a retired senior military officer and friend of the general. “The credibility he has is precisely why they are using him as a spokesman. I think that’s unfortunate.”
“H.R. is being used here,” another former adviser said. “If he didn’t have three stars on his shoulder, he’d be useless to them. It’s the worst of all outcomes for him. He’s got this miserable interagency process and then gets trotted out to defend the most inane and corrupting things.”
“He has to retire,” said one officer who served with McMaster overseas. “Being the national security adviser that this president requires — given the random things Trump’s going to say that he has to defend — he can’t do that in uniform.”
Retired Admiral Michael Mullen, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that all military officers struggle with these issues when they are asked to join the White House. He added that he was “pushed to the edge.”
“Inside the White House, it’s politics all the time,” he said during comments at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “What are my limits here? When am I going to say no, meaning I’m not here anymore?”