White House press secretary Sarah Sanders attempted to dump cold water on some hot rumors that President Donald Trump had decided to fire National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
Amid swirling rumors and reports of the decision, Sanders denied the claims in a tweet on Thursday.
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
Despite the push-back from the White House, The Washington Post reported on Thursday that “Trump has decided to remove H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser and is actively discussing potential replacements, according to five people with knowledge of the plans.”
The publication added that the mood in the White House has been one of “mania” in the wake of staff shake-ups over the last days.
According to the Post:
There has been a death watch for McMaster for several weeks. After NBC reported on March 1 that Trump was preparing to replace him, the White House dismissed that report as “fake news” — but over the past 48 hours, officials told The Post that Trump has now made a clear decision and the replacement search is more active.
Although Sanders attempted to sweep away the rumors, media outlets continued to be skeptical.
Axios reporter Jonathan Swan even pointed to the “carefully worded statement” from the press secretary, noting that it did not guarantee anything.
She’s not lying in this carefully worded statement. There are no changes (tonight). And while they’ve never had chemistry, Trump never had the animosity towards HR that he did towards Rex. https://t.co/Gfc5DArUXB
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) March 16, 2018
Fox News’ Fin Gomez tweeted that “per an administration official,” McMaster is certainly on the chopping block.
I can confirm per an administration official that POTUS is looking to replace McMaster but Is willing to take his time to find a successor. And that could take as long as the summer. @FoxNews
— Fin Gomez (@finnygo) March 16, 2018
California Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu offered his – unsurprising – perspective in a tweet in response to Sanders.
This tweet by Sarah Sanders on H.R. McMaster gives rise to 2 possibilities:
Which do you think it is? https://t.co/2vHvgFRhhI
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 16, 2018
Several reporters continued to fan the flames despite what the White House was officially saying on McMaster, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well as the 1991 Persian Gulf campaign.
Confirmed: Trump has told Kelly he has decided to oust McMaster, administration officials tell me + @MichaelCBender. Trump doesn’t yet have a replacement in mind and wants a more graceful exit for McMaster than he afforded Tillerson, whom he fired via tweet.
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) March 16, 2018
WSJ confirms: Trump has decided to oust H.R. McMaster and has conveyed that decision to John Kelly, according to admin officials. https://t.co/A0g9SofVIl
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 16, 2018
Trump is done with McMaster and has been for some time. McMaster is also essentially saying “screw it” and not pushing to stay. But four admin sources say this anti-McMaster push is led much more by Kelly than Trump right now.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 16, 2018
Twitter users were abuzz over the rumors but many called out the media for hyping the story.
Sarah Sanders just reported she talked to the President and he’s fine with McMasters Stop reporting gossip ! It’s bad for our country!
— Sharon Michael (@softawafta) March 16, 2018
Who is the administration official you spoke with? Either they are giving you bad information or the @PressSec is lying. One or the other.
— Vic Cruz (@RealVicCruz) March 16, 2018
“McMaster will leave the job sooner or later” is not exactly what they call a scoop
— Jason Hornbuckle (@JasonHornbuckle) March 16, 2018
The Washington Post story about President Trump firing National Security adviser H.R. McMaster is Fake news.
— Oliver McGee PhD MBA (@OliverMcGee) March 16, 2018