The Trump White House set a record for a senior staff turnover rate in its first year, and now, in the second year, that turnover is not showing signs of slowing down considerably.
Last year, the president saw the departure of everyone from Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price to his national security adviser, Michael Flynn. So far this year, he’s seen the departure of his staff secretary and, more recently, his communications director and longtime aide Hope Hicks.
Hicks seems to have been personally discontent with her position in the White House amidst the endless stream of Trump-ian controversy, while staff secretary Rob Porter resigned in the face of a domestic violence scandal.
Now, based on the testimony of nearly half a dozen insiders, NBC News is reporting that the president’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster may be the next prominent official to be on their way out of the White House.
According to the outlet, the way forward for the position of national security adviser is being charted jointly by White House chief of staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Kelly himself is a replacement, having taken over as chief of staff after the departure of former RNC official Reince Priebus from the position and in the time since having become a sort of attack dog for the president.
McMaster may leave the White House as early as next month, according to the officials speaking to NBC News, and the “leading candidate” to replace him is auto industry executive Stephen Biegun. Biegun currently serves as vice president of international governmental affairs for the Ford Motor Company but has a past as a government official, having worked on the National Security Council from 2001 to 2003.
Biegun, during his time on the council, worked for then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, who is the one who reportedly introduced him to Mattis in the first place.
Ford Motor Company spokesperson Christin Baker commented in response to the reporting that Biegun has “no plans to leave Ford,” and White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said that the White House has “no personnel announcements at this time.”
McMaster has some supporters, like former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
Were McMaster to depart from the White House, such would come in the face of a continued stream of tension between him and the president.
Recently, after McMaster spoke forcefully — as so many others have done — about the impact and significance of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the president quickly took to Twitter to counter his national security adviser.
The president’s last national security adviser before McMaster was on the complete opposite side of the Russia scandal. Michael Flynn, who earned the title of the national security adviser to serve for the shortest time in American history, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the content of his communications with the now former Russian ambassador to the United States.
Flynn is now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and is one of four former Trump associates who have, among others, faced charges from Mueller.
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