CNN reported late Thursday evening that national security adviser H.R. McMaster might be on his way out of the White House, with multiple officials suggesting that the Pentagon has weighed moving McMaster back to a position in the military.
The consideration comes after what has apparently been “months of personal tension between McMaster and [Donald] Trump”—which boils down, essentially, to the fact that McMaster’s job requires him to relay at times unpleasant and unflattering news to Trump, which the president despises.
The two have never gotten along, and Trump continues to chafe at McMaster’s demeanor when he briefs him, feeling that he is gruff and condescending, according to a source who is familiar with his thinking.
He prefers the briefing style of someone like CIA Director Mike Pompeo or Defense Secretary James Mattis, who patiently answer his questions, regardless of the premise. McMaster, meanwhile, is the person who delivers the news that Trump doesn’t want to hear on a daily basis, according to the senior Republican source.
McMaster has also apparently been on “thin ice” since last fall, but has not yet been replaced in part because of the optics, and in part because it has become increasingly difficult for the White House to find a competent person who has not criticized “the President, his personality and the Russia investigation,” according to CNN’s sources.
The specter of former chief strategist Steve Bannon apparently continues to haunt McMaster’s prospects. CNN reports that, because Trump was made aware of the tension between Bannon and McMaster, his “perception of McMaster” is still shaped by his feuds with Bannon.