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: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
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