Sen. Tom Cotton spearheaded the effort for President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster for the post of national security advisor, Politico reports.
Cotton suggested McMaster after Retired Adm. Robert Harward turned Trump’s offer down Feb. 16, reportedly over concerns he would not have full control over the National Security Council. Cotton approached several members of the White House senior staff with the suggestion, bolstering McMaster’s name to the final list of interviewees.
The senator’s admiration for McMaster harkens back to his days in the U.S. Army in 2007, where he almost resigned after McMaster was passed up for a promotion. McMaster often offered blistering criticism of past Army performance in the Vietnam and Iraq, drawing the ire of a powerful contingent within the Pentagon.
McMaster was one of the first commanders in Iraq to independently employ counter-insurgency tactics in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, which later became the bedrock of U.S. strategy in Iraq in 2007. He was passed over for brigadier general twice, until then-Gen. David Petraeus personally flew back to Washington, D.C., from Iraq to chair the Army’s promotion board in 2008.
Cotton cited many of these achievements in comments to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough Tuesday, saying, “I want to commend the president for picking General McMaster as a national security adviser.” He continued, “He was one of the very first commanders in the Second Iraq War to bring counterinsurgency into the fight, almost two years before the surge in 2007. He’s an unorthodox thinker. He’s never marched to the beat of the Army drum, so to speak.”
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