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McMaster's long, outspoken military career

H.R. McMaster is a military general with a reputation for speaking his mind, and rumors of tension with the President have clouded his White House tenure.

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 9:06 AM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 9:06 AM

President Donald Trump has apparently grown sick of H.R. McMaster and is preparing to jettison his national security adviser in the not-too-distant future. That news was first broken by The Washington Post on Thursday night but subsequently confirmed by CNN. It appears to now be a matter of when, not if, McMaster will leave.

What struck me most is not that firing McMaster would mean Trump is on course for three national security advisers in the space of 15-ish months -- although that's noteworthy. Instead, I was totally floored by this paragraph from the Post's McMaster story:

"Trump is now comfortable with ousting McMaster, with whom he never personally gelled, but is willing to take time executing the move because he wants to ensure both that the three-star Army general is not humiliated and that there is a strong successor lined up."

Ah ha! So, Trump doesn't want to actually fire McMaster right now because he doesn't want to humiliate him. But, Trump has clearly told enough people about his plan to get rid of McMaster -- and the fact that he dislikes what he believes to be the national security adviser's "gruff and condescending" manner -- that they feel comfortable sharing this information with the media. (The Post spoke to 19 Administration officials and advisers for their story including five who confirmed the plans to fire McMaster.)

Being fired is humiliating. Knowing you are going to be fired and twisting in the wind -- in a very public way -- before you are fired is even worse.

Let's say McMaster isn't let go -- and doesn't resign -- for the foreseeable future. How can he possibly be effective at his job -- inside or outside the White House -- given that there is this cloud looming over him? Every single person McMaster deals with will have read the stories about Trump's plans. It will be impossible for McMaster to do anything with the President's imprimatur on it.

All of which may well mean that McMaster resigns before he is fired. But, that doesn't change the fact that this is no way to run a railroad.

Remember that news of McMaster's likely ouster comes amid a week that saw Trump fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over Twitter -- and let go of the undersecretary of public affairs at the State Department because he put out a statement saying Tillerson was unaware of the why he was being fired.

It's also the same week that a bevy of Cabinet secretaries and a top staffer have been described in media reports as being on thin ice, a list that includes VA Secretary David Shulkin, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and chief of staff John Kelly.

Trump, for all of the bravado of his "you're fired" catchphrase, has proven to be less willing to do the deed as president than everyone expects -- with Tillerson being a case in point.

The McMaster move -- I'm-going-to-fire-him-but-just-not-yet-or-maybe-I-will-do-it-now-or-maybe-he-will-just-quit -- is another example of a distinct lack of class (and being a grown up) within this White House. Whatever you think of McMaster's style or policy views, it's impossible to justify leaving him hanging out to dry like this.

For a president already struggling to recruit top tier talent to join his White House, the moves on Tillerson and McMaster this week will further complicate attempts to bring in the best and brightest -- or even the third best and third brightest.

If Trump would do what he did to Tillerson or embarrass McMaster so publicly, you have to wonder what he would do to a less senior official within his ranks.

That will have a further chilling effect on an administration already heavily undermanned to carry out the basic business of governance.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 142311

Reported Deaths: 2472
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin35484995
Ramsey14726372
Dakota10271139
Anoka9344155
Washington636273
Stearns625550
Scott360436
Olmsted340230
St. Louis325874
Wright273116
Clay252944
Nobles234318
Blue Earth21147
Carver18887
Sherburne183122
Kandiyohi18215
Rice170210
Mower154518
Winona133619
Chisago11562
Crow Wing114322
Benton103311
Lyon10306
Beltrami9618
Otter Tail9508
Waseca94510
Todd8967
Polk8364
Morrison8259
Steele8013
Itasca78817
Douglas7744
Nicollet77118
Freeborn7185
Le Sueur6646
Goodhue65111
Martin62618
Becker6214
McLeod6214
Isanti5995
Watonwan5824
Pine5770
Carlton5092
Chippewa4733
Mille Lacs44918
Hubbard4344
Cass4225
Wabasha4141
Dodge4130
Pipestone36617
Meeker3593
Rock3595
Brown3483
Roseau3300
Redwood29912
Yellow Medicine2986
Murray2973
Cottonwood2950
Fillmore2770
Renville27213
Sibley2663
Wadena2643
Faribault2520
Houston2381
Unassigned23853
Kanabec23710
Swift2252
Jackson2211
Pennington2181
Aitkin1982
Stevens1941
Lincoln1930
Koochiching1755
Pope1680
Big Stone1591
Marshall1511
Lac qui Parle1453
Wilkin1454
Clearwater1381
Norman1340
Lake1330
Mahnomen1292
Grant1054
Red Lake822
Traverse590
Kittson530
Lake of the Woods441
Cook190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 122218

Reported Deaths: 1691
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19732289
Woodbury743799
Linn6038133
Johnson602431
Black Hawk5974102
Dubuque550658
Scott487343
Story411118
Dallas357347
Pottawattamie337845
Sioux254417
Buena Vista230212
Marshall212236
Webster196015
Plymouth172831
Wapello158962
Clinton156228
Muscatine153958
Des Moines151611
Cerro Gordo150227
Crawford138714
Warren13137
Carroll120413
Jasper119734
Henry11245
Marion106811
Lee101312
Tama100538
Delaware82713
Dickinson7939
Wright7591
Boone7509
Mahaska73824
Bremer7199
Harrison69716
Washington69311
Jackson6853
Benton6482
Lyon5688
Clay5574
Louisa54415
Winnebago52119
Cedar5087
Winneshiek5079
Hardin5017
Jones5004
Kossuth4970
Clayton4923
Buchanan4875
Hamilton4825
Poweshiek47611
Floyd46211
Emmet45321
Iowa4429
Cass4233
Mills4233
Guthrie42015
Page4200
Cherokee4122
Sac4114
Butler4083
Fayette4064
Shelby4022
Allamakee3999
Franklin39518
Madison3743
Chickasaw3731
Hancock3676
Humboldt3593
Clarke3573
Grundy3406
Palo Alto3292
Calhoun3264
Osceola3020
Mitchell2961
Howard2879
Monroe27212
Union2645
Taylor2602
Jefferson2591
Appanoose2503
Monona2492
Pocahontas2442
Fremont2152
Lucas2136
Ida2122
Adair1971
Greene1930
Montgomery1907
Davis1884
Van Buren1882
Keokuk1731
Decatur1620
Audubon1601
Worth1470
Wayne1373
Ringgold992
Adams841
Unassigned60
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