- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
- Several top White House officials are reportedly on the cutting block.
- National security adviser H.R. McMaster’s ouster was reportedly considered “imminent.”
- Rumors of a change in leadership follows a long list of resignations and firings within the past few weeks.
As rumors of a potential shake-up in top-level leadership at the White House circulate, sources called the latest developments a “blood bath” and indicated that national security adviser H.R. McMaster was at the front of President Donald Trump’s firing line, according to Fox News’ White House correspondent John Roberts.
Sources said McMaster’s ouster was “imminent”and expected John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, to replace him, according to Roberts.
Tensions between McMaster, Trump, and other top officials have reportedly flared throughout McMaster’s tenure and, at one point, he was rumored to have threatened to quit.
Asked by a reporter of any updates on his position in the White House, McMaster replied on Tuesday: “Hey, I’m still around.”
Trump reportedly met Bolton and indicated he had a role to play in his administration, according to a source in Vanity Fair. Bolton replied that he would consider a position of secretary of state or national security adviser, to which Trump reportedly said, “O.K., I’ll call you really soon.”
- Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is also on Trump’s radar, according to several media reports. Shulkin has reportedly drawn ire from Trump following a spate of scandals in his agency, including a recent report alleging he asked a member of his security detail to accompany him to a Home Depot and carry furniture items to his house.
Rumors of Shulkin’s replacements have ranged from Energy Secretary Rick Perry to Fox News co-host Pete Hegseth.
But Perry flatly denied the reports and said he was “happily” serving in his current position: “I am energy secretary from now until the foreseeable future,” Perry said on Wednesday.
Hegseth, who previously competed for Shulkin’s job, reportedly talks to Trump on a regular basis. Earlier this month, Shulkin met with Trump in the Oval Office to discuss the VA healthcare system when Trump surprised him by calling Hegseth and putting him on speaker phone to get his opinion, according to sources in an Axios report.
Other potential firings have also been floated in White House circles, including attorney general Jeff Sessions and White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Due to the uncertainty following the recent wave of resignations and firings, one White House staffer described the situation as “the most toxic working environment on the planet.”
“Usually tough times bring people together,” the White House official told Axios. “But right now this atmosphere is ripping people apart.
“There’s no leadership, no trust, no direction and at this point there’s very little hope,” the official continued. “Would you want to go to work every day not knowing whether your future career was going to be destroyed without explanation?”