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Trump picked new national security adviser

Trump picked new national security adviserU.S. President Trump appointed Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster as his new national security adviser on Monday, picking a widely respected military strategist known for challenging conventional thinking and helping to turn around the Iraq war in its darkest days, The New York Times reported.

Trump made the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he interviewed candidates over the holiday weekend to replace Michael T. Flynn, who was forced out after withholding information from Vice President Mike Pence about a call with Russia’s ambassador.

Unlike Flynn, who served as a campaign adviser last year, General McMaster has no links to Trump and is not thought of as being as ideological as the man he will replace. A battle-tested veteran of both the Persian Gulf war and the second Iraq war, General McMaster is considered one of the military’s most independent-minded officers, sometimes at a cost to his own career.

“He’s a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” Trump told reporters, representing General McMaster.

“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,” Trump added.

The choice continued Trump’s reliance on high-ranking military officers to advise him on national security. Flynn is a retired three-star general and Mattis a retired four-star general. John F. Kelly, the homeland security secretary, is a retired Marine general. Trump’s first choice to replace Flynn, Robert S. Harward, who turned down the job, and two other finalists were current or former senior officers as well. General McMaster will remain on active duty.

54-year-old General McMaster made a name for himself as a young officer with a searing critique of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for their performance during the Vietnam War and later criticized the way President George W. Bush’s administration went to war in Iraq.

As a commander, he was credited with demonstrating how a counterinsurgency strategy could defeat militants in Iraq, demonstrating the promise of an approach that Gen. David H. Petraeus adopted to shift momentum in a war the United States was on the verge of losing.

Stocky, smart and soft-spoken with a sense of humor, General McMaster, for all his war-making experience, has little background in navigating Washington politics, which could be a challenge for him in his new role with a fractious national security team to corral.

His task now will be to take over a rattled and demoralized National Security Council apparatus that bristled at Flynn’s leadership and remains uncertain about its place in the White House given the foreign policy interests of Stephen K. Bannon, the former Breitbart News chairman who is the president’s chief strategist.

General McMaster thanked Trump on the appointment, but gave no insight into his plans. “I’m grateful to you for that opportunity,” he told the president, “and I look forward to joining the national security team and doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people.”
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