President Donald J. Trump has defended his beleaguered National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster despite a massive campaign by right-wing media, accusing the general of trying to silence conservative voices in the national security team.
“General McMaster and I are working very well together,” Mr. Trump said in a White House statement on Friday. “He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”
Lately, Mr. McMaster removed Ezra Cohen-Watnick from his post as the senior director of intelligence on the National Security Council, adding on a serious of recent dismissals including the retired Army Col. Derek Harvey.
These latest removals by Mr. McMaster were seen as an attempt to clear the council of his predecessor’s appointees. Mr. McMaster assumed the top national security position at the White House after Gen. Michael T. Flynn resigned for failing to disclose his contacts with Russian officials.
Mr. McMaster’s alleged purge has alarmed some conservatives. Right-wing media outlets, particularly those close to Mr. Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, have leveled blows against the national security adviser.
Since Wednesday, Breitbart News, formerly run by Mr. Bannon, has produced many stories defaming Mr. McMaster. “McMaster Deeply Hostile to Israel and to Trump” was one of many headlines appeared on Breitbart News.
On Wednesday, The Daily Caller, another conservative outlet, argued that Mr. McMaster opposed everything that the “President wants to do.” The Caller alleged that the national security adviser was ruining president’s foreign policy.
Twitter hashtag #FireMcMaster had even made it to the most trending list.
President Trump’s support for Mr. McMaster came at a time of turmoil at the White House, which has been rattled over palace intrigues. The president appointed another general, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, to lead the West Wing and bring much-needed discipline to the White House staff.
Mr. Trump’s support for his national security adviser has been widely considered as a move by the president to prevent another potential chaos consuming his policy agenda.