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.

Confirmed Cases: 115763

Reported Deaths: 3263
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 158701

Reported Deaths: 2680
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23292377
Mobile16916315
Tuscaloosa10345140
Montgomery10250197
Madison935096
Shelby739063
Baldwin665869
Lee654665
Calhoun459961
Marshall439550
Etowah428551
Houston417034
Morgan416435
DeKalb342629
Elmore320853
St. Clair295542
Limestone287230
Walker279492
Talladega266435
Cullman248024
Lauderdale229442
Jackson215915
Autauga205931
Franklin205531
Colbert202132
Russell19493
Blount193225
Chilton188432
Dallas186627
Coffee177111
Dale176351
Covington174729
Escambia172730
Clarke135217
Chambers135044
Pike134113
Tallapoosa132987
Marion108129
Barbour10339
Marengo101922
Butler101140
Winston92913
Geneva9067
Lawrence85832
Pickens85218
Bibb84014
Randolph82716
Hale76830
Washington74912
Clay74412
Cherokee73814
Henry7176
Lowndes71328
Bullock64917
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60830
Perry5926
Fayette57713
Cleburne5698
Wilcox56812
Conecuh56113
Macon53620
Lamar4965
Sumter47221
Choctaw39212
Greene34216
Coosa2043
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