- REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain released a statement on Monday defending embattled National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster from attacks purportedly orchestrated by “the so-called ‘alt-right.'”
The statement comes amid what appears to be a campaign to oust McMaster from his role in President Donald Trump’s administration. Some government officials think Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is responsible for the attempts to force McMaster from the White House.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing General H.R. McMaster for many years, and greatly respect and admire his outstanding service to the nation,” McCain said in his statement. “The recent attacks on him from the so-called ‘alt-right’ are disgraceful.”
The statement continued:
“Since this fringe movement cannot attract the support of decent Americans, it resorts to impugning the character of a good man and outstanding soldier who has served honorably in uniform and sacrificed more for his country than any of his detractors ever have. Such smear tactics should not be tolerated and deserve an emphatic response. I hope the President will once again stand up for his national security adviser and denounce these repugnant attacks, which arise from the same purveyors of hatred and ignorance who precipitated the recent violence in Charlottesville.”
Contentious relations between Trump’s chief advisers have come to the fore in recent weeks, emerging after McMaster took the reins of Trump’s national security team and forced out several officials appointed by his predecessor. The move reportedly provoked the ire of Bannon, who leads the more nationalist wing of Trump’s staff.
Trump, who reportedly “tunes out” McMaster at times during briefings, has defended his national security adviser (though he has also considered sending him to Afghanistan.) But the attacks against McMaster look set to intensify.
Axios reported on Sunday that forces outside the White House plan to accuse McMaster of having a drinking problem, basing the report on a video shown online by the website Infowars.
“I have never heard anything to support the allegation from anyone inside the Trump administration or from anyone who’s socialized with McMaster,” Axios’ Johnathan Swan writes.