Trump’s defense of HR McMaster is indefensible

· August 9, 2017  
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United States President Donald J. Trump (L) and US National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC as they depart. | Ron Sachs | AP Images

The president’s approval rating is well below that of any modern president in the first year of his presidency. Even his base is showing signs of cracking. Trump often complains about all the obstacles inhibiting his success — from the media and Democrats to establishment Republicans and “deep state” administrative officials shooting at him relentlessly.

But that is no excuse to self-immolate and step on a grenade, or worse, bring the shooters into his own home base to mow down the president’s most loyal supporters. McMaster is that land mine. It’s time to get rid of that obstacle or risk becoming a lame-duck president.

Throughout the trials and tribulations of the past six months, conservatives have consistently looked in the rearview mirror, breathing a sigh of relief that “at least we didn’t get Hillary.” The irony is that Hillary’s national security legacy is being advanced under Trump’s own banner through H.R. McMaster as head of the National Security Council. Unless he is fired, this will be the third term of Obama.

On Friday, Trump said in a statement that he is working well with McMaster, who “is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”

He cannot possibly be serious about this defense. Swap out the name McMaster for Hillary Clinton, Ben Rhodes, or John Kerry, and the statement would carry the same degree of truth: zero.

Trump’s continued support for McMaster, in conjunction with Mattis and Tillerson, raises the serious question of whether he even cares about many of the issues he ran on during the campaign.

McMaster has fired all of the pro-Israel staff from the NSC: from Ezra Cohen-Watnik, (senior intelligence adviser) and Derek Harvey (the NSC’s Middle East adviser) to Rich Higgins (the director of strategic planning). He has brought in Obama’s people for the most important Middle East roles, including Kris Bauman, a Hamas apologist, as the lead adviser on “Palestine,” as he so proudly calls it.

He even worked hard to bring on Linda Weissgold, the woman who drafted the original Benghazi talking points, which fabricated the narrative about the Islam video spawning a spontaneous protest. Plus, Dina Habib-Powell has taken over the deputy role from K.T. McFarland. As Daniel Greenfield reminds us, this is a woman with an affinity for Muslim Brotherhood organizations who once bragged about the levels of immigration from the Middle East.  

This is not just a Bush-style Republican opposed by the hardcore grassroots conservatives. McMaster is the “full Obama.” He is the lowest common denominator of the worst elements of the neo-cons and the Obama acolytes. He is obsessive about intervening in every Islamic civil war with no positive outcome or strategic interest for America, but at the same time he is pro-PLO and passionately supportive of the Iran deal.

Even more insidious, the Obama holdovers McMaster is retaining are suspected as the source of many leaks. Worse, he is now continuing to offer Susan Rice access to sensitive national security material while boxing out Trump loyalists!

As Jed Babbin reported in the American Spectator, four staffers who reported directly to Ben Rhodes have been protected by McMaster: Abigail Grace (Special Assistant), Fernando Cutz (NSC Director for South America), Andrea Hall (NSC Senior Director for WMD, Terrorism & Threat Reduction), and Merry Lin (‎Director for Global and Asia Economics).

The personnel problems explain why McMaster has been such an apologist for the Iran deal and has covered up Iran’s refusal to allow in weapons inspectors to critical sites. McMaster is looking at this crazily backwards: He is obsessed with intervening in Syria to take out Assad but is weak on the problem of Iran, which foments and causes the problems in Syria. McMaster has refused to publicize the 15 side agreements Obama made with Iran.

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These are key to unraveling the truth about our current relationship with that state sponsor of terrorism. Undoubtedly, this behavior has emboldened Iran, which continues to challenge our Navy without fear in the Persian Gulf.

McMaster is an anathema to every word uttered by Trump on the campaign trail and in the presidential debates: Moving the embassy to Jerusalem, the Iran deal, aimless involvement in Syria, maintaining ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, mass immigration from the Middle East, and the endless war in Afghanistan.

Trump specifically criticized the military leadership and its worldview under Obama. Well, some of the generals he’s brought on, most prominently McMaster, share that worldview. The fact that McMaster had a laudatory military career doesn’t change the fact that he is a liberal. 

We already know Tillerson and the State Department are irreparably broken and off the reservation. Mattis is also problematic and is trying to bring in one Democrat after another for top leadership positions in the administration.

He publicly trashed the president’s common-sense decision to end the castration nonsense and social engineering in the military. This is why Trump must appoint a conservative to run the NSC so that the White House can get the executive branch on the same page or at least overrule the wayward agencies. 

Even though McMaster stands at the nexus of empowering the deep state, undermining Trump’s campaign agenda, and continuing the Obama/Clinton legacy on foreign policy, Trump has thus far refused to act upon the information presented to him.

The next time he complains on social media about the deep state sabotaging his administration, he might want to look in the mirror and understand that he is the president and much of the problem is stemming from those he hired and refuses to fire — the shallow state, if you will. Maybe he should offer McMaster a slice of the treatment he meted out to Jeff Sessions.  

Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.