Trump staff in the firing line
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump has hinted he may make yet more personnel changes after he summarily disposed of his secretary of state Rex Tillerson via Twitter.
Here is a look at who else is in the firing line:
A general in his labyrinth
A three star army general, HR McMaster has appeared to be on the chopping block almost since he took up the job just over a year ago.
Playing referee between the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and other sharp-elbowed departments is fraught in any administration, but McMaster has, from the start, lacked Trump’s support, so he’s been doing the job without a whistle.
His tough positions on the use of military force against Iran and North Korea have made him few friends among the other generals in Trump’s inner circle — chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Joe Dunford — and White House insiders say he is not long for the West Wing.
But first this old soldier needs to find a landing zone, and one that would bump his rank to four stars. One position floated is commander of US Forces Korea, but the timing — during a nuclear standoff and as talks are pending between Trump and Kim Jong Un — appears less than opportune. A delay is seen as possible.
Brought in to impose order on a dysfunctional White House, Chief of Staff John Kelly has bumped up against Trump’s desire to make world-changing decisions on the fly
Kelly’s position looks similarly uncertain.
He has also struggled to keep staff motivated as they wonder about possible indictments in connection with Russian election meddling.
But Trump has lost one chief of staff already. That may look like misfortune, to lose two in less than 18 months could look like carelessness.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was an early target of Trump’s ire over his recusal last year from the Russia investigation, a decision that paved the way for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The former prosecutor reportedly offered to resign at least once after the president publicly insulted him — but has more recently indicated a desire to resist, firing back over Twitter after his boss’s latest broadside calling his handling of illegal wiretapping allegations “disgraceful.”