Tags: Donald Trump | Trump Administration | national security | adviser | white house | hr mcmaster

NSA McMaster: I'm Not Here to Keep Trump 'on the Reservation'

NSA McMaster: I'm Not Here to Keep Trump 'on the Reservation'
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster (Susan Walsh/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 26 September 2017 04:36 PM

President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, says his job is to help execute the commander-in-chief's policies – and not "keep him on the reservation" as some critics had hoped.

In an interview posted Tuesday by Breaking Defense, the four-star general also said there is no "feuding" or "chaos" in the White House — those trying to "advance their agenda" are either gone or countered by another decorated general, chief of staff John Kelly.

"[It's] a misconception here . . . that we're there to try to contain the president or something like that," McMaster told a conference hosted by the Institute for the Study of War, Breaking Defense reported. "That is absolutely not the case.

"There's nobody there who's serving the president who's there to control the president or [to] keep him 'on the reservation' . . . We're there to serve the president and help advance his agenda."

"There were some people who maybe misunderstood what their role was," he added, Breaking Defense reported. "They thought their role was to advance a narrow agenda that may or may not be the president's agenda and to manipulate decisions to advance their agenda."

"Those people are largely gone — and they're not going to get around John Kelly for sure," McMaster said. "You heard these stories about, like chaos, chaos in the White House. I didn't see any of the chaos. You saw stories about feuding; I wasn't aware of any feud going on. We were actually working in, I think, a sensible and effective way to do what the president expected us to do."

McMaster praised Trump as a different kind of president.

"He questions all assumptions and just asks why," McMaster said. "The president is not a policy wonk at all; he's a business person and what he demands is results . . . It's changed the way we do things."

For one, he said, there are shorter policy papers, Breaking Defense reported.

"Can you imagine any executive getting a 60- page document three to four days before a meeting?" McMaster asked. "It used to be, you'd get a paper and you'd read the paper and it's like, what is the point of this?"

"What the president demands is a focus on purpose, on objectives . . . so our papers now are five pagers," he said.

"What we've tried to do at the National Security Council is meet the president's guidance to get the White House out of the business of tactical decision making and devolve responsibilities and authorities back to the departments and agencies where they belong," he said, Breaking Defense reported.

He also defended Trump's sharp rhetoric aimed at North Korea.

"I don't think we have seen any evidence that different rhetoric in the past has moderated the behavior of Kim Jong Un or his predecessors," he said.

"If you look at previous presidential statements on if North Korea were to attack, if North Korea were to threaten our allies or the United States, take a list of those quotations, they are very similar," he said, conceding however, "They probably don't include the word 'rocket man.'"

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President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, says his job is to help execute the commander-in-chief's policies, and not "keep him on the reservation" as some critics had hoped.
national security, adviser, white house, hr mcmaster
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2017-36-26
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 04:36 PM
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