National security adviser General H.R. McMaster could be out of the White House as early as the end of the month, NBC News reported Thursday, citing five sources familiar with the situation.
The news comes a day after the abrupt resignation of White House communications director Hope Hicks, who announced her departure just one day after White House senior communications aide Josh Raffel gave his own abrupt resignation. The Trump administration has seen a record-setting turnover in its first 13 months.
NBC reports Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are leading the McMaster shakeup, and are eying Stephen Biegun, an executive at Ford Motors who served on the National Security Council from 2001 to 2003, as a potential replacement.
McMaster's departure has been rumored for months as an inevitable outcome. The general hasn’t had an easy time in the Trump White House, notoriously shut out of the inner circle that Kelly and Mattis enjoy membership in. Not helping matters was a BuzzFeed report that McMaster referred to Trump as an “idiot” with the intelligence of a “kindergartener” at a private dinner last November.
White House officials began openly discussing replacing McMaster last fall, CNN reported last week, but held off because they were weary of appointing three different national security advisers in the president’s first year.
After the general said Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was “incontrovertible” at a forum in Germany, Trump made his displeasure publicly known.
"General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems," Trump tweeted. "Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!"
McMaster wasn't the only high-profile employee rumored Thursday to be leaving. White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn is also said to be on the outs with Trump after the president announced plans to impose steel and aluminium tariffs, Politico reports.