US President Donald Trump has issued a defence of his national security adviser General HR McMaster, against criticism that he is not supportive enough of Israel and is stifling conservative viewpoints.
General McMaster, an Army lieutenant general, came under attack after the recent firing of White House intelligence adviser Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a protege of Mr Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Critics have accused General McMaster of trying to remove conservative voices from the President’s national security team.
He was also the subject of a widely circulated Facebook post by a Jerusalem Post columnist that called him “deeply hostile to Israel.”
Mr Trump came out with a public endorsement late on Friday (local time).
“General McMaster and I are working very well together,” he said in a statement.
“He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”
Mr Trump’s statement of support comes after a turbulent period at the White House and a major reshuffling of top staff.
New White House chief of staff John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, is now seeking to impose order on a chaotic West Wing.
Mr Cohen-Watnick’s departure came as part of a string of shake-ups at the White House and national security council.
General McMaster had sought to remove him in March when CIA leaders raised concerns about him, but Mr Cohen-Watnick appealed to Mr Trump’s top advisers, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
On Friday, Mr Kushner also offered support for General McMaster.
Speaking to The New York Times, he called General McMaster “a true public servant and a tremendous asset”.
Mr Trump had recently pondered a different role for General McMaster.
In a recent Situation Room meeting, the President — who is frustrated by his options in Afghanistan — raised the idea of firing the top US commander in Afghanistan and replacing him with General McMaster, according to officials with knowledge of the discussion.