Trump Taps Lt. Gen. McMaster as National Security Adviser

The appointment comes a week after Michael Flynn was asked to resign from the position, after he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials

President Donald Trump has picked Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to succeed Michael Flynn as his national security adviser, Trump said Monday.

He made the announcement at Mar-a-Lago, flanked by McMaster and the acting adviser, retired Army Gen. Keith Kellogg. Kellogg will stay on as McMaster's chief of staff, Trump said.

"He's a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience," Trump said of McMaster. "He is highly respected by everybody in the military."

The president, who has no military experience, has shown a preference for generals in the top security roles. McMaster, who wore his uniform for the announcement, joins Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, both retired generals.

A senior administration official told NBC News that Trump chose McMaster because he is both a "warrior" and "defense intellectual."

In brief remarks, McMaster said he was grateful for the opportunity and privileged to be able to serve the nation.

McMaster, 54, served in the first Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq. Considered a scholarly officer, he holds a Ph.D. in military history, and has authored a book called "Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies That Led to Vietnam." He has also written articles questioning the planning for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The position of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation.

Trump's first choice to replace Flynn, retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward, turned down the offer.

The appointment comes a week after Flynn was asked to resign as national security adviser, after he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about what he said in convesrations with Russia's ambassador to the United States before Trump took office.

Flynn reportedly discussed sanctions on Russia, something Pence had said in interviews did not occur.

At a news conference at NATO headquarters Monday, Pence said that Trump was right to oust Flynn.

"I was disappointed to learn that the facts that have been conveyed to me by General Flynn were inaccurate," Pence said. "I fully support the president's decision to ask for his resignation. It was the proper decision. It was handled properly and in a timely way."

McMaster was one of four people meeting with Trump at his private Florida club over the weekend. The others were Kellogg, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, the superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Trump said Bolton will be asked to serve the administration in a different capacity.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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