WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Thursday he was replacing national security adviser H.R. McMaster with John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations known for his hardline views.
Trump has repeatedly clashed with McMaster, a respected three-star general, and talk that McMaster would soon leave the administration had picked up in recent weeks.
Trump tweeted that McMaster has done “an outstanding job & will always remain my friend.” He said Bolton will take over April 9.
I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
Bolton, a Fox News commentator and former diplomat known for his blunt style, was a vocal advocate of the Iraq war, and has also advocated preemptive strikes against North Korea and war with Iran. He served as ambassador to the UN under George W. Bush from 2005 to 2006.
His appointment had been fiercely opposed by many within Trump’s inner circle, most notably the coterie of military officers who have experienced the brutality of war first hand.
McMaster, a three star army general, had been expected to move out of the White House and into a four star position.
Instead he will retire from public life.
“After thirty-four years of service to our nation, I am requesting retirement from the US Army effective this summer after which I will leave public service,” he said in a statement.
“Throughout my career it has been my greatest privilege to serve alongside extraordinary service members and dedicated civilians.”
His departure comes as Trump faces a high stakes meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and weighs the future of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons, which now appears to be in grave peril.
McMaster’s departure follows Trump’s dramatic ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week.
It also comes after someone at the White House leaked that Trump was urged in briefing documents not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin about his recent re-election win. Trump did it anyway.
McMaster was brought in after Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was dismissed.