BY CATHERINE LUCEY
PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn. Trump announced the pick Monday at his Palm Beach club and said McMaster is “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.”
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.
Trump says retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg who had been his acting adviser, will now serve as the National Security Council chief of staff. He also said he would be asking John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to work with them in a “somewhat different capacity.”
Trump made the announcement from a luxurious living room, sitting on a couch between McMaster and Kellogg. The president told reporters as he exited the room that Vice President Mike Pence had been involved in the process.
Trump brought four candidates for the position to Mar-a-Lago over the weekend for in-person interviews, McMaster among them. McMaster called the appointment a “privilege.”
McMaster 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 pushed out Flynn a week ago after revelations that the adviser had misled Pence about discussing sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential transition. Trump said in a news conference Thursday that he was disappointed by how Flynn had treated Pence, but did not believe Flynn had done anything wrong by having the conversations.
Trump’s first choice to replace Flynn, retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward, turned down the offer.