Trump ready to replace H.R. McMaster as national security advisor: reports

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has decided to remove H.R. McMaster as his national security advisor, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

The news comes two days after Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and moved to replace him with a close ally, CIA Director Mike Pompeo. On Wednesday, Trump chose conservative TV analyst Larry Kudlow to replace his top economic advisor, Gary Cohn, who quit earlier this month following a tariff rift.

Communications director Hope Hicks and staff secretary Rob Porter both departed the White House in February near the start of Trump’s second year in office.

According to the Post, “the turbulence is part of a broader potential shake-up under consideration by Trump that is likely to include senior officials at the White House, where staffers are gripped by fear and un­certainty as they await the next move from an impulsive president who enjoys stoking conflict.”

Amid speculation about McMaster’s fate, CNN previously reported that the three-star general has been in discussions with the Hoover Institution.

As recently as March 8, the White House denied reports that McMaster was on his way out, with spokeswoman Sarah Sanders declaring on “Fox & Friends” that “General McMaster’s not going anywhere.”

Several sources told CNN that the push for a replacement comes after months of personal tension between McMaster and Trump. Trump has privately expressed irritation with McMaster stemming from differences in “personality and style,” a senior Republican source said.

The two have never gotten along, and Trump continues to chafe at McMaster’s demeanor when he briefs him, feeling that he is gruff and condescending, according to a source who is familiar with Trump’s thinking.

Sources with knowledge of McMaster’s standing in the White House have repeatedly said that he has been on thin ice for months.

There was discussion in the West Wing about replacing him last fall, but he ultimately survived because officials, including the President himself, were skeptical about the optics of appointing a third national security adviser in less than a year, several sources told CNN. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned within a month of taking the job amid controversy over his contact with Russian officials.

McMaster was also retained at the time due to the White House’s challenge attracting top talent for jobs in the administration due to Trump’s “blacklist” of individuals who have criticized the President, his personality and the Russia investigation, according to a senior Republican source.