[Ed. – There’s usually no point in further repeating gossipy stuff about what’s going on inside the Washington staffs. But Eli Lake is a careful, skeptical reporter with a good track record. I’m a bit surprised to see the implication that H.R. McMaster finds himself unable to salute smartly and do things Trump’s way. Makes you wonder why he took the job. On something like South Korea paying for the missile defense system (THAAD), for example, it’s just not McMaster’s call. It’s Trump’s, and McMaster ought to know that, and either represent the president faithfully, or tender his resignation.]
For the Washington establishment, President Donald Trump’s decision to make General H.R. McMaster his national security adviser in February was a masterstroke. Here is a well-respected defense intellectual, praised by both parties, lending a steady hand to a chaotic White House. The grown-ups are back.
But inside the White House, the McMaster pick has not gone over well with the one man who matters most. White House officials tell me Trump himself has clashed with McMaster in front of his staff. …
McMaster’s allies and adversaries inside the White House tell me that Trump is disillusioned with him. This professional military officer has failed to read the president — by not giving him a chance to ask questions during briefings, at times even lecturing Trump.
Presented with the evidence of this buyer’s remorse, the White House on Sunday evening issued a statement from Trump: “I couldn’t be happier with H.R. He’s doing a terrific job.”
Other White House officials however tell me this is not the sentiment the president has expressed recently in private. Trump was livid, according to three White House officials, after reading in the Wall Street Journal that McMaster had called his South Korean counterpart to assure him that the president’s threat to make that country pay for a new missile defense system was not official policy. …
This was not an isolated incident.