Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster accused some of his former White House colleagues on Wednesday of being “a danger to the Constitution” because they are either trying to manipulate President Donald Trump to push their own agenda or see themselves as rescuing the country from what they view as the commander in chief’s bad policy choices.
The retired Army lieutenant general, who served as a top Trump aide between February 2017 and April 2018, cast himself among the group who sought to provide unvarnished policy options to the president. But he said others whom he declined to identify by name had very different agendas — and he said those agendas are dangerous.
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“The second group of people, and I think this is true in any administration,” he explained, are those “who are not there to give the president options — they’re there to try to manipulate the situation based on their own agenda, not the president’s agenda.”
The third group of Trump advisers are those who “cast themselves in the role of saving the country, even the world, from the president,” McMaster told an event hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a hawkish think tank where he is now a scholar.
“I think those latter two categories of people are actually a danger to the Constitution of the United States,” he concluded, explaining that the public servants were not elected to overrule or stymie Trump’s policy desires.
McMaster’s remarks were a rare public airing of his internal struggles working for Trump after he was plucked out of his Army command when the president’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was fired after less than a month.
But he declined to offer his opinion of his successor, John Bolton. Nor did he assess Trump directly.
McMaster did stress that during his time in the White House, he pushed the National Security Council staff to focus on providing information in ways that worked for Trump. “What we can do is understand how the president makes decisions,” he said.