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The McMaster controversy, explained in less than 60 seconds

President Donald Trump announces U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser on Feb. 20 at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. McMaster has recently come under fire from pro-Trump media. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

You may have heard recently that there has been a controversy surrounding President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, but you may not have been able to keep up with the particulars. If so, you're not alone. Here's what you need to know.

Trump expressed his confidence in McMaster on Thursday after the general recently came under fire from pro-Trump media. But why?

The critics:

  • McMaster recently fired several National Security Council officials who were hired by former national security adviser Michael Flynn, sparking the ire of some of Trump’s nationalist supporters.
  • Some of the president’s supporters objected to McMaster’s approval of sending more troops to Afghanistan and for warning the president that Russian President Vladimir Putin is an adversary of the U.S.
  • Some McMaster critics have charged that he is anti-Israel.
  • McMaster recently renewed security clearances for several members of the Obama administration, including former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice.
  • Pro-Trump websites have recently launched a slew of attacks against McMaster. Among numerous stories critical of McMaster, Breitbart wrote that McMaster “purged loyalists” from the Trump administration. Infowars dubbed McMaster “greatest national security threat.”

The defenders:

  • CNN noted that security officials from previous administrations routinely have their clearances renewed. The Hill noted such renewals are common for both Democratic and Republican administrations.
  • The claim that McMaster is anti-Israel was disputed by Trump and Israeli government officials, according to the Times of Israel.
  • A Wall Street Journal editorial published earlier this week pointed to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who used to run Breitbart, as the source of the attacks against McMaster. Politico noted that McMaster pushed for Bannon's removal from the National Security Council principals’ committee.

As the Bannon wing of the White House still views McMaster as an enemy, the controversy is likely to rage on.

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