Alternatives to H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor

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President Donald Trump’s national security advisor H.R. McMaster is expected to leave his position soon, according to U.S. officials.  

The White House has denied these claims. On March 15, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted, “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.”

However, several senior White House officials did not dispute the claim that the president has made a decision to fire McMaster. Most speculate that McMaster’s ouster will come as soon as a transition plan is formulated.

Trump reportedly wants McMaster fired because his briefings are too long and he is too rigid.

The prospect of another Trump administration staff change has prompted the discussion of alternatives to McMaster for national security advisor.  

There are three primary contenders to replace McMaster: Keith Kellogg, John Bolton and Steve Biegun.

Kellogg is currently the chief of staff of the national security council and a retired Lieutenant General.

The President had Kellogg travel with him on many domestic trips, and the two get along well. Trump thinks that Kellogg is fun and enjoys spending time with him.  

Bolton is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He regularly meets with Trump and speaks highly of the president on television interviews.  

However, many are fearful of Bolton’s appointment, since Bolton has advocated hawkish policies before. Bolton is in support of preemptive war with North Korea and Iran, leading many to fear these interventionist views.   

Bolton recently met with the president in the Oval Office but denies the allegations that this meeting was about replacing McMaster.

Biegun is currently the vice president of international governmental affairs for the Ford Motor Company. Biegun has previously served on the national security council staff.

Biegun is not well-known in foreign policy circles, but his views are similar to President Trump’s. Biegun shares Trump’s skepticism of global trade deals.

On March 15, President Trump responded to questions of firing McMaster, saying, “There will always be change, but very little. I think you want to see change. I want to also see different ideas.”

Photo courtesy of AP.

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