President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he will be replacing his National Security Advisor, General H.R. McMaster, replacing him with former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, in another big shake up on the White House staff.
Making the announcement on Twitter, the President said McMaster had “done an outstanding job,” though there had been reports for months that Mr. Trump was unhappy with the Army General, who is expected now to retire from the military.
As for Bolton, he has been under consideration for other posts in the Trump Administration, but has faced opposition from some Republicans in the Congress. Bolton, who is seen as a defense hawk, served as U.N. Ambassador under President George W. Bush, and has often appeared on Fox News in recent years.
The change came nine days after President Trump used Twitter to fire his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
““After thirty-four years of service to our nation, I am requesting retirement from the U.S. Army effective this summer after which I will leave public service,” McMaster said in a statement released by the White House. “Throughout my career it has been my greatest privilege to serve alongside extraordinary servicemembers and dedicated civilians.”
A week ago, the White House sternly denied press reports that McMaster might be out of his job. But those stories now seemed to be accurate, as backers of the President said bringing on Bolton was a good choice.
“I know John Bolton well and believe he is an excellent choice who will do a great job,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
“Very underrated, amazing American,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), said of Bolton. “Extraordinarily talented pick.”
Bolton does not need Senate confirmation in order to take his post at the White House. The President said the handover would happen on April 9.
McMaster joined the White House after the resignation of the President’s first choice for National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who has plead guilty to lying to FBI agents about his post-election contacts with the Russian Ambassador to the United States.
Republicans in Congress saw McMaster as someone who could keep Trump aimed in the right direction, but instead, they watched as the President seemed to clash with McMaster about foreign policy goals and decisions.
On Capitol Hill, the selection fell flat with Democrats.
“Another step backwards for an administration already going full throttle in reverse,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). “If you’re worried about our national security today, you should be more concerned about it tomorrow.”
President Trump “has just destroyed rational policy-making in selecting reactionary John Bolton,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
“This may be the stupidest and most dangerous decision you have made as President,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).
“Trump desperately needs tempered and measured voices around him,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “Bolton is neither of those things.”