US President Donald Trump has appointed Lt Gen Herbert Raymond McMaster as his new national security advisor following the ouster of Michael Flynn last week.
Making the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida yesterday, Trump described McMaster, currently Director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, as “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.”
Flynn had been 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 had described this as a matter of trust and not of any wrongdoing.
“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. 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.
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.
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.
The White House later told reporters that he has the freedom to bring in his own staff to the National Security Council.
In response to a question, Trump confirmed that Vice President Mike Pence played a role in the selection process.
Top Republican Senator John McCain, who is Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and a fierce critic of Trump, welcomed the 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.