McMaster: Trump better without Bannon, others who pushed their ‘own narrow agendas’
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday that President Trump’s United Nations speech will focus on promoting and protecting American prosperity and suggested that the White House’s National Security Council is better after having removed adviser Steve Bannon and others who pushed “their own narrow agendas.”
“The National Security Council, I think, has served the president well in bringing him multiple options. There were some who tried to operate outside of that process for their own narrow agendas. And that didn’t serve the president well,” McMaster told “Fox News Sunday,” in response to questions about his policy clashes with Bannon.
McMaster, shortly after becoming the White House national security adviser in February, removed Bannon as an official member of the council. And Bannon was ousted last month as the president’s top political adviser, after retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly became Trump’s chief of staff.
Others removed from the council include intelligence expert Ezra Cohen-Watnick and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Flynn was forced to resign this winter as national security adviser amid investigations into whether he or others in the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 White House race.
“The administration is better off when we can serve the president by integrating and coordinating across all of our departments and agencies … and present the president with multiple options,” McMaster also said Sunday. “What’s important is to have an inclusive process … not to try to advance your own agenda.”
He also tried to downplay the idea that Bannon, who apparently disagrees with the so-called “globalists” in Trump’s inner circle, was the only concern.
“I think this has been too hyped on one individual,” he said. “Reports of feuding, this didn’t happen.”
McMaster also said Trump’s scheduled speech Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly in New York will be a “tremendous opportunity to reach world leaders.”
He said the president’s speech will focus on the themes: protecting American people, promoting American prosperity and promoting accountability and sovereignty.
“Those three themes will allow him to communicate his vision for America’s role in the world,” McMaster said.
He also clarified his comment last week about the United States having “run out of road” in trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un about him ending his pursuit of a nuclear arsenal.
“We are out of road because in the past the approach taken to the problem of North Korea and the Kim regime over decades has been to enter into long drawn-out negotiations that then deliver an unsatisfactory agreement -- an agreement that then the North Korean regime breaks,” he said.