As if the White House doesn’t have enough centers of conflict within its walls, now we hear about yet another feud erupting between two of the president’s closest advisers.
In one corner is Stephen Bannon, the uber nationalist and former head of Breitbart News and a guy known for his rather harsh views about “globalism.” In the other corner is Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the brilliant military strategist who now serves as Donald John Trump Sr.’s national security adviser.
The White House is getting caught up in a growing potential crisis in North Korea. The president needs close aides nearby to give him sound advice on how to handle this matter.
McMaster made the rounds today on news talk shows to talk about the Korea issue — and about his relationship with Bannon. McMaster declined to say he could work with Bannon. He soft-shoed his way all around the questions.
Indeed, this is another test for the White House, which now is being run day-to-day by another general-grade officer, former Marine Gen. John Kelly, the president’s newly named chief of staff. It now falls on Kelly to ensure that the White House functions like a “fine-tuned machine,” which is now Trump once described his dysfunctional administration.
My sincere hope is that McMaster emerges as the man who’s standing if he, indeed, is engaged in a battle with Bannon.
I don’t trust Bannon as far as I can throw my big home office desk. He lacks the background to serve as a “senior policy adviser” to the president of the United States. He is a far-right provocateur and a damn scary dude, to boot!
McMaster is a grownup with tremendous combat experience. He has emerged as a brilliant strategist and he is the kind of serious-minded adviser who — if he’s given the chance — can serve the president and the nation with distinction.
All of this, of course, relies on the president’s judgment.
Will he heed the voice in his head that tells him to trust the national security pro or does he rely instead on the right-wing flamethrower?
As hopeful as I want to be on how this turns out, I am not willing to bet the mortgage the president will do what is right for the nation.