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Trump picks Lt Gen McMaster as new national security advisor

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017,15:52 IST By anju A A A

Washington | President Donald Trump has tapped Herbert Raymond McMaster, a decorated and outspoken US Army lieutenant general to be his new national security adviser, days after he fired his first pick and his second turned down the crucial post.

54-year-old McMaster, the head of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, will become one of Trump’s top national security and foreign policy advisers, taking the helm of the White House’s National Security Council, which was left rudderless after Lt Gen Michael Flynn was forced to resign after just 24 days on the job.

“I just wanted to announce that Gen H R McMaster will become the national security advisor. He’s a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” Trump said while making the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida yesterday.

“I watched and read a lot over the last two days. He is highly respected by everyone in the military and we’re very honored to have him,” Trump said.

In his brief remarks, McMaster said he looks forward to joining the national security team and doing everything he can to advance and protect the interests of the American people.

McMaster will take on the new role after having served several tours of duty in Germany, Southwest Asia and Iraq, including a stint as special assistant to Gen. David Petraeus when he was commander of the US-led coalition forces in Iraq during the 2007 troop surge.

McMaster’s predecessor, Lt Gen Michael Flynn was forced out by Trump after revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about discussing sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the US during the presidential transition.

Trump then offered the job to retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, who turned down the role, citing “personal reasons”.

The acting national security advisor, Gen (retd) Keith Kellogg, will now serve as Trump’s national security council chief of staff.

The President also said John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, would serve the administration in another capacity.

“I met with many other people. I have tremendous respect for the people I met with. I know John Bolton, we’ll be asking him to work with us in a somewhat different capacity. We had some really good meetings with him,” he said.

“He had a good number of ideas that I must tell you I agree very much with. So we’ll be talking with John Bolton in a different capacity. And we’ll be talking to some of the other generals that I’ve met,” Trump said.

Top Republican Senator John McCain, who is Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and a fierce critic of Trump, welcomed McMaster’s appointment.

“Lt General H R McMaster is an outstanding choice for national security advisor. I have had the honor of knowing him for many years, and he is a man of genuine intellect, character, and ability. He knows how to succeed,” he said.

“I give President Trump great credit for this decision, as well as his national security cabinet choices. I could not imagine a better, more capable national security team than the one we have right now,” McCain said.