Military Journalist Calls on General McMaster to Step Down—And Let Trump Be Trump

Historians in the News
tags: Trump, HR McMaster



Thomas E. Ricks is the author of five books about the modern U.S. military. His most recent work is “Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom.”

Related Link Will the President Dump His Second National Security Adviser?

During the presidential transition, when a friend called me to discuss whether he should accept a national security post in the Trump administration, I advised him to do so. My thinking was that the more mature, thoughtful people we had in the administration, the better.

But over the last two weeks, I have come to think I was wrong. I no longer believe in the “adults in the room” theory of containing President Trump and the similarly erratic and ignorant people around him.

The prime reason I have come to believe I was wrong was the experience of watching Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s second national security adviser, make a series of statements. On the evening of Monday, May 15, he appeared before cameras at the White House to respond to a Washington Post article reporting that the president had shared sensitive intelligence about terrorism with Russian visitors. This information was sufficiently detailed, some intelligence officials feared, that it might enable interested parties to determine the source of that intelligence.

Not so, said General McMaster. “The story that came out tonight as reported is false,” he stated emphatically.

The next day, he appeared again before the cameras. This time his line was: “the premise of that article is false—that in any way the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or that resulted in any kind of lapse in national security.” That’s what people in Washington say when they can’t dispute the facts in a given article, but still dislike it. ...




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