US President Donald Trump defends McMaster as ‘very pro-Israel’ amid calls for his firing

August 5, 2017 10:30 pm

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster speaks at the press briefing with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 31, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

US President has defended his embattled National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster as a “very pro-Israel” person in the face of a full-blown campaign by the far-right wing of his political coalition demanding his ouster.
The escalating push for McMaster’s dismissal by the staunchly pro-Israel political right came after he fired several ultra-conservatives on the national security staff and also warned against tearing up the nuclear agreement with Iran – negotiated in part by the Obama administration – without a strategy for potential consequences, US and British media outlets reported on Saturday. 
“General McMaster and I are working very well together. He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country,” Trump said in a Friday statement as quoted by The New York Times, seeking to quash speculation about his ouster after two days of persisting attacks on the general by conservative activists and outlets, complete with the Twitter hashtag #FireMcMaster.
Trump’s statement was issued amid a raging turmoil and turnover at his White House, which included the sudden departures of his press secretary, chief of staff and communications director along with the president’s own  criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
According to the Times, the intensity of the attacks “coming from the faction of the party allied with Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, had General McMaster’s associates convinced that it was no coincidence.”

File photo of White House National security Adviser H.R. McMaster (L) and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who are reportedly at odds. (Photo by AFP)

At one point on Friday, the daily added, ultra-right Breitbart News outlet – formerly run by Bannon – had close to a dozen headlines on its home page about General McMaster, like “McMaster ‘Deeply Hostile to Israel and to Trump.’”
Moreover, Breitbart further chided Trump after his statement of support for McMaster, saying the president had “defied his base” in defending his national security adviser, who it described as “globalist”, an insult from the point of view of the “alt-right.”
Other reports also confirmed that “the anti-McMaster campaign” was ignited by the firing of three White House officials known to be allies of Bannon and McMaster’s predecessor as national security advisor, retired general Michael Flynn.
Those dismissed, the UK-based Guardian reported, “were Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the national security council (NSC) senior director for intelligence programs; Derek Harvey, the NSC senior director for the Middle East; and Rich Higgins, the director for strategic planning.”
Higgins, the daily added, was fired after circulating a memo — published by The Atlantic monthly —  which argued that the Trump presidency was under attack from subversive forces including “globalists” and “Islamists” allied to “cultural Marxists” employing “Maoist tactics.”
Meanwhile, Frank Gaffney Jr., the leading proponent of the Islamophobia campaign across the US and president of the Center for Security Policy, — yet another group on the far right — stated on a radio program on Friday that General McMaster was “insubordinate to his commander in chief” on matters including Syria and “Islamic radicalism.”
Additionally,  Rick Manning, the president of a conservative advocacy group called Americans for Limited Government, also stated in an interview  that “General McMaster has to be fired because he is the captain of the ship and he has allowed that ship to get out of control and he can no longer be trusted with that responsibility.”
However, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is often portrayed as a rival to McMaster in White House power struggles, also backed the general, saying that he was “a true public servant and a tremendous asset,” according to the Times.
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