National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster made light of rumors of his imminent firing on Friday, as his repeated appearances peaking out of West Wing doors sent the media into near stampede-level sprints.
McMaster made his presence known to reporters at the White House on Friday with several appearances in areas where he would clearly be seen.
McMaster causing near press stampede from the briefing room to the stakeout multiple times today by poking his head out doors from the West Wing as White House denies continued rumors of his imminent departure
— Michelle Moons (@MichelleDiana) March 16, 2018
The activity comes as heavy rumors persist that he will soon be fired by President Donald Trump, including a Thursday evening report from the Washington Post that indicated the President had “decided to remove H.R. McMaster” and was “actively discussing potential replacements.” The report cited five “people with knowledge of the plans.”
In one Friday afternoon appearance of McMaster, ABC reporter Tara Palmeri probed him on the reports that he “might be leaving the White House.”
“Oh Sarah said it straight yesterday,” McMaster replied.
“Everybody’s gonna leave the White House sometime,” McMaster said with a wisecracking chuckle.
Palmeri pushed back, “Are you leaving sooner or later?”
“I’m doing my job,” said McMaster, not directly answering the question.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 16, 2018
The Thursday night reports of McMaster’s departure were met that night with a swift denial from White House spokespersons. Press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that she had spoken with the President and stated that there were “no changes at the NSC.”
Just spoke to @POTUS and Gen. H.R. McMaster – contrary to reports they have a good working relationship and there are no changes at the NSC.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 16, 2018
Sanders was asked during Friday’s press briefing whether the President had reassured McMaster that his job was “in fact, safe.” She said that Trump had told her to relay the prior night’s message to McMaster and that the two had been in meetings during the day, but she was not sure “whether or not [the safety of McMaster’s job] came up.”
Pressed on the issue, Sanders shot back, “as I just said, we don’t have any personnel changes at this time.”
Later in the briefing Sanders was asked about the President’s reaction to stories that McMaster was out and whether Trump saw any truth in the stories.
“The President has said that that was not accurate and he had no intention of changing – that they had a great working relationship, and he looked forward to continue working with him,” Sanders replied.
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