Donald Trump's very public embarrassment of H.R. McMaster

President Donald Trump has apparently grown sick of H.R. McMaster and is preparing to jettison his national security ...

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 1:53 PM
Updated: Mar 16, 2018 1:53 PM

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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
Madison10273225
Lee10063176
Jones8473167
Forrest7837153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636288
Lafayette6314121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606148
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4162136
Union415877
Neshoba4065180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3373111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314571
Adams308486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272374
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232369
Winston230282
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210659
Holmes190574
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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