H.R. McMaster plans to resign and will be replaced as national security adviser by former U.N. ambassador John Bolton. The White House said McMaster's departure had been under discussion for some time and that the process was sped up to end speculation about the role. McMaster will stay on until mid-April.
Bottom line: This isn’t about ideology — unlike Trump, Bolton is hawkish and interventionist on foreign policy. This is about personal chemistry.
Last week’s WaPo story accelerated the end for McMaster, according to a source familiar. McMaster knew he was a dead man walking and didn’t think there was much point sticking around for four months until the summer. But the timing — and the decision of John Bolton — took some senior officials by surprise. Trump met with Bolton at 3pm today and senior officials believe he made his final decision in the room. Trump informed McMaster of his decision in a “cordial and respectful” phone call after his Bolton meeting, according to the source. Key senior staff learned of the decision shortly after 5pm.
A White House official told me:
Bolton is a veteran of the Reagan and both Bush administrations and a prominent neoconservative. One area where he and Trump contrast sharply is the Iraq War — Trump has called the war a "huge mistake" while Bolton insists it was the correct move.
While both are outspoken opponents of the Iran nuclear deal, Bolton has gone so far as to call for Iran to be bombed. He also wrote a WSJ op-ed last month headlined, The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First.
Though his time in the White House was far from smooth, McMaster is leaving on better terms than his predecessor, Michael Flynn, who was fired for lying about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. and has since pleaded guilty in the Mueller probe.
Gen. H.R. McMaster Statement:
President Trump Statement