Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster will resign his post as national security adviser and be replaced by John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, White House officials announced Thursday.
McMaster, who has been plagued by rampant speculation regarding his diminishing status within the administration, has discussed his retirement for weeks with President Donald Trump.
The timing of his departure was reportedly prompted by Trump’s desire to solidify his national security team in advance of a meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Bolton, who has advised Trump informally since the beginning of his tenure, will officially assume his responsibilities on April 9.
“H.R. McMaster has served his country with distinction for more than 30 years. He has won many battles and his bravery and toughness are legendary,” Trump said in a statement. “General McMaster’s leadership of the National Security Council staff has helped my administration accomplish great things to bolster America’s national security.”
McMaster replaced former national security adviser Michael Flynn in February of last year and has since publicly clashed with Trump on a number of occasions. Long the target of administration hardliners, McMaster disagreed with Trump’s desire to abolish the Iran nuclear agreement and disapproved of his strategy in Afghanistan.
Trump publicly chastised McMaster in February after the three-star general stated that Russia had undoubtedly interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
“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 following McMaster’s statement at a security conference in Munich.
Bolton, who has established a reputation as a hawk on Middle East and Asian foreign policy, made the case for launching a pre-emptive strike against North Korea in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal last month.