President Trump’s selection of Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as national security adviser was hailed by military experts yesterday as a stark contrast from the ousted Michael Flynn, trading a career military intelligence officer for an innovative battlefield commander who bucked military hierarchy.
Trump announced the pick yesterday in a surprise press briefing at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, calling McMaster, who sat next to him in uniform, “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.” McMaster called the appointment a “privilege.”
Trump also announced yesterday that retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who had been his acting adviser, will serve as the National Security Council chief of staff.
McMaster joins fellow generals Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, both retired, in Trump’s inner circle. McMaster is active duty, and will remain so while serving in his new post, the White House said.
GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said the McMaster pick works for Trump on several levels.
“In a lot of ways this helps him tamp down the story about Flynn, but it also sends the message to Europe and the rest of the world that he’s going to be strong against Russia and he’s put the people in place to do it, should push come to shove,” O’Connell said.