As President Donald Trump began losing confidence in national security adviser John Bolton, whom he fired on Tuesday, he reached out to the man he had fired to give Bolton the job: retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.
In phone calls to McMaster — the first of which took place last fall — Trump told his second national security adviser that he missed him, according to two people familiar with the conversations. It’s a sentiment the president has also expressed to White House aides, they said. Trump has solicited McMaster’s advice on various national security challenges, even asking McMaster whom he should nominate to lead the Pentagon, they said.
Trump’s contacts with McMaster perhaps presaged his decision Tuesday to unceremoniously fire Bolton. They also were a remarkable shift for the president that is emblematic of how much Bolton fell out of favor since Trump welcomed him into the White House 17 months ago. At that time, Trump was barely speaking to McMaster and regularly did derogatory impressions of him in his absence, according to current and former White House officials.