Donald Trump is set to fire his second national security adviser, the Washington Post reported Thursday, with H.R. McMaster just one of several top officials potentially facing a White House exit on “Firing Friday.”
Others rumored to be for the chop include Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and chief of staff John Kelly — according to multiple media reports.
The president has never gelled with McMaster, who replaced Michael Flynn, and is now “comfortable” with getting rid of him, the newspaper reported citing five sources with knowledge of Trump’s plans.
McMaster, who likely knew of rumors around his future when he spoke Thursday at the Holocaust memorial museum in Washington, lashed out at Russia in a way the White House has been noticeably reticent to do.
The 55-year-old said Moscow was behind “the abhorrent nerve agent attack” on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the U.K. last week, adding there should be “serious political and economic consequences.”
“Russia is also complicit in [Syrian dictator Bashar] Assad’s atrocities,” he said.
Despite reports of his impending departure, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied McMaster was to be fired late Thursday:
The Post reported that Trump may delay McMaster’s cull to allow for a suitable replacement to be found and to spare the three-star general from humiliation.
McMaster’s possible ouster comes days after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired via Twitter. The former Exxon executive’s last act in office was to also condemn Russia over the nerve agent attack.
Asked at a press conference Thursday if there would be more turmoil in the West Wing, Trump said media reports were “exaggerated” and “fake,” adding: “There will always be change, and I think you want to see change.”
The hashtag #FiringFriday was trending on early on Twitter Friday.
Cover image: H.R. McMaster, national security adviser, listens as U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean defectors in the Oval Office of the White House on February 2, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Zach Gibson-Pool/Getty Images)