Washington: President Donald Trump is not preparing to oust his national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said late Thursday night.
“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," Sanders wrote on Twitter.
The comment came after the Washington Post reported that Trump was planning to remove McMaster, with whom he has occasionally clashed.
Trump has been shaking up his national security team even as a planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un approaches. The president fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, saying the two had disagreed on the Iran nuclear deal and other matters of foreign policy. Mike Pompeo, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and an ardent critic of the Iran accord, has been chosen to replaced Tillerson.
There had been reports that more members of the Trump administration would soon be leaving.
McMaster is traveling to California tomorrow to meet Saturday with his counterparts from South Korea and Japan to continue discussions on North Korea, their third such meeting, a White House official said. The meeting reflects the depth of McMaster’s involvement on the North Korea issue that will be a central focus for Trump over the course of the coming months.
McMaster, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the 1991 Persian Gulf campaign, joined the administration a year ago after Trump dismissed his predecessor, Michael Flynn, for lying to Vice President Mike Pence. He has traveled with Trump to several countries and helped craft the administration’s national security approach to North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran.
The Pentagon has been preparing options for a possible new job for McMaster, an army lieutenant general, fueling speculation that he would soon leave the White House.
Although praised for the calm command and deep experience he brought to the post, McMaster has had run-ins with the president. Last month, Trump rebuked him on Twitter for neglecting to defend the president’s 2016 victory while discussing U.S. claims that Russia interfered in the election. Bloomberg