US President Donald Trump has decided to sack National Security Adviser HR McMaster, in what would be the latest in a string of high-profile White House departures, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
The newspaper reported that Trump is discussing potential replacements for McMaster, but is willing to take his time because he wants to avoid humiliating him as well as to have a successor ready.
The report comes just two days after the president fired Rex Tillerson as secretary of state – a move announced on Trump's Twitter account.
Trump plans to remove McMaster as national security adviser, officials say, in yet another jolt to administration's top echelon https://t.co/V97nCwECRG
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 16, 2018
A combat veteran, McMaster gained renown in the first Gulf War – and was awarded a Silver Star – after he commanded a small troop of the US 2nd Army Cavalry Regiment that destroyed a much larger Iraqi Republican Guard force in 1991 in a place called 73 Easting, for its map coordinates, in what many consider the biggest tank battle since World War Two.
McMaster, 54, is a West Point graduate with a doctorate in US history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was listed as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2014, partly because of his willingness to buck the system.
Gary Cohn, Trump's top economic adviser, resigned earlier this month, and Trump's White House tenure has also seen the departure of his chief strategist, chief of staff and his first national security advisor, among other officials.
Just spoke to @POTUS and Gen. H.R. McMaster – contrary to reports they have a good working relationship and there are no changes at the NSC.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 16, 2018
McMaster replaced Trump loyalist Michael Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who was fired as national security adviser on 13 February 2017 after reports emerged he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about speaking to Russia's ambassador about US sanctions before Trump's inauguration.
The national security adviser is an independent aide to the president and does not require confirmation by the US Senate. The role has varied from administration to administration, but the adviser attends National Security Council meetings along with the heads of the State Department, the Department of Defense and key security agencies.