US President Donald Trump has named Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser, succeeding Michael Flynn, who left last week amid criticism of his pre-inauguration contacts with the Russian ambassador.
“General H.R. McMaster will become the national security adviser. He’s a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” Trump, who was accompanied by the general, said in a surprise announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, Efe news reported on Monday.
“I watched and read a lot over the last two days. He is highly respected by everyone in the military and we’re very honored to have him,” the President added.
McMaster, who holds a PhD in military history and is the author of a book – ‘Dereliction of Duty’ – that criticizes the ‘lies’ that led to the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War, had not been regarded as one of the frontrunners for the post.
Retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward had been offered the post last week, but he turned it down due to a staffing dispute.
Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who also was present for the announcement, was named McMaster’s chief of staff.
Neither post requires Senate confirmation.
Flynn stepped down last week after a leaked transcript showed he discussed sanctions on Russia with that country’s ambassador to the US prior to Trump’s inauguration.
Trump said retired Lt. Gen. Flynn was asked to resign because he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence when he told him that the topic of sanctions had not been addressed during the phone call.
Flynn’s exit has been one of the biggest crises of Trump’s first month in office.
Trump spent the weekend in Florida, where he announced that he would meet with possible candidates for the post of national security adviser, and is scheduled to return to Washington on Monday night.