President Trump's national security advisor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, has been criticized by members of the Right of late over his recent actions involving firing Trump allies from the National Security Council (NSC), but the president is standing behind McMaster.
"General McMaster and I are working very well together," Trump told The New York Times in a statement. "He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country."
Here are five things you need to know about McMaster.
1. McMaster has been purging Trump allies from the NSC while keeping holdovers from the Obama administration. The fact is that their firings have helped enshrine Barack Obama's foreign policy blunders.
The Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday, "The Trump staffers fired by McMaster had repeatedly clashed with career government staffers and holdovers from the Obama administration on issues as diverse as military strategies for Syria and Afghanistan, whether to tear up Obama's landmark Iran deal, the controversial détente with Cuba, the U.S. role in confronting Islamic radicalism, and the Paris Climate Accord."
Jordan Schachtel of Conservative Review reported that one of the fired Trump loyalists, Senior Director of Intelligence Ezra Cohen-Watnick, "wanted to revamp counter-Iran efforts in the Middle East" as well as weed out the politicization of intelligence agencies. Another fired Trump loyalist, Middle East NSC Director Derek Harvey, had listed all the Obama holdovers in the NSC and had a detailed strategy in place to scrap the Iran deal.
In fact, Obama holdovers had undermined Harvey's efforts by refusing to give him necessary information:
Rich Higgins, the NSC's director for strategic planning who was also recently fired by McMaster, had attempted to expose a document from the Obama administration that some believe would have exposed their alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood: (H/T: The Atlantic)
Higgins had also “pushed for declassification of documents having to do with radical Islam and Iran,” according to a source close to the White House. A source close to Higgins said that specifically, Higgins had been pushing for the declassification of Presidential Study Directive 11, a classified report produced in 2010 by the Obama administration which presaged the Arab Spring, outlining unrest throughout the Middle East. The directive has become a shibboleth of activists such as Frank Gaffney, who see it as evidence of the Obama administration’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.
Higgins had also written in a memo that the Left had become allied with Islamist groups:
Through the campaign, candidate Trump tapped into a deep vein of concern among many citizens that America is at risk and slipping away. Globalists and Islamists recognize that for their visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political identity, must be destroyed. … Islamists ally with cultural Marxists because, as far back as the 1980s, they properly assessed that the left has a strong chance of reducing Western civilization to its benefit. Having co-opted post-modern narratives as critical points, Islamists will co-opt the movement in its entirety at some future point. (NOTE! Communist take over of Russian revolution against the Czars, N Vietnamese against the South, Maoists against the democratic forces against the Chinese dynasty.)
Meanwhile, McMaster has kept Obama holdovers on board the NSC, including four people who directly worked for Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama's former deputy national security advisor who gloated about lying to the media about the Iran deal. McMaster has even absurdly stated that "there’s no such thing as a holdover."
An anonymous source told the Free Beacon that McMaster "didn't want anyone pointing out how Obama loyalists were still in place, undermining President Trump, and leaking against him."
2. McMaster granted former National Security Advisor Susan Rice a top security clearance.
Indeed, it has been reported that McMaster, without the president's knowledge, granted the clearance to Rice, an extraordinarily shocking move because allegations of unmasking names for political purposes normally result in grounds for removing security clearances. For whatever reason, McMaster doesn't seem to be bothered by those allegations.
3. McMaster has made statements and conducted actions that reflect an anti-Israel slant. The Daily Wire's Hank Berrien reported the following regarding McMaster and Israel:
- McMaster has referred to Israel as "illegitimate" and that it's an "occupying power."
- McMaster pushed for Trump to attend the Western Wall without the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
- McMaster quashed a joint project with Israel to disrupt the Iran-Hezbollah alliance.
- McMaster favors the Iran deal.
- McMaster won't recognize the Western Wall as belonging to Israel.
- When Israel started using metal detectors at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in response to the murder of two Israeli police officers by Palestinian terrorists, McMaster viewed it as "just another excuse by the Israelis to repress the Arabs."
McMaster is no friend to Israel.
4. McMaster is soft on radical Islam. Via PJ Media:
McMaster has instructed his staff to avoid using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” and tried to remove it from the president’s recent speech in Warsaw, Poland (Trump put it back in). According to a recent rumor, the NSC declined to schedule a talk on radical Islamic terrorism by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of the country’s most respected authorities, reportedly because one of McMaster’s appointees, Mustafa Javed Ali, accused her of “Islamophobia.” McMaster’s predecessor, General Mike Flynn, advocated waging ideological war against “radical Islamists,” supporting moderate Muslims, and putting the United States firmly behind Muslim governments, such as Indonesia and Egypt, that fought the jihadis. McMaster does not agree.
McMaster has also endorsed a book that attempts to disassociate Islamism from terrorism.
5. No, there is not a Russian propaganda effort to oust McMaster. McMaster's defenders have claimed that there is a Russian campaign effort to get McMaster fired; therefore he must be remain in his role as national security advisor. However, Brad Patty at the Security Studies Group (SSG) argued that McMaster is in favor of policies that are beneficial to Russia, including his support of the Iran deal and continuing to stay the course in Afghanistan.
What the Russians are doing is a matter of reverse psychology: by pretending to support McMaster's firing, McMaster will stay in place and maintain policies that the Kremlin supports, Patty argues:
Russia is only playing at being against McMaster, for that matter: the inside-the-Beltway impulse to stay the course in Obama-era policies sustains a number of Russia’s foreign policy goals. Listening to what Russia says through these propaganda outlets is just as dangerous for those who think of themselves as enemies of Russia as it is for those who think of themselves as friendly to Russia. The Russian professionals have successfully manipulated very many people by playing this particular game.
One thing is very clear about McMaster: as long as he's Trump's national security advisor, it will be very difficult for the president to implement his foreign policy agenda.