McMaster’s No. 2 to leave White House amid Bolton overhaul

Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster’s No. 2 is exiting the White House, a spokesperson confirmed Thursday, marking the fourth senior staffer to unveil plans to leave the National Security Council as John Bolton takes over.

White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters told reporters that Ricky Waddell, the deputy national security adviser to President Donald Trump, “plans to step down from his position at the White House.”

Walters said Waddell “will stay on board for the immediate future to help ensure a smooth and orderly transition.”

Waddell, an Army reserve major general, became the deputy to McMaster last May. He previously served as commander of the 76th Operational Response Command.

The deputy is the fourth top official to announce they will leave the NSC since Trump fired McMaster and appointed the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to succeed him.

On Wednesday the White House confirmed that deputy national security adviser for strategy Nadia Schadlow will resign effective April 27. Like Waddell, Schadlow said in a statement she will stay on board until then to “help with the transition” of Bolton.

Earlier this week Tom Bossert, a prominent voice on counterterrorism and cybersecurity in the Trump administration and a homeland security adviser, said he will step down. On Sunday, a day before Bolton’s first day at the NSC, agency spokesman Michael Anton announced plans to leave the administration.

The string of departures signals that Bolton, whose hawkish foreign policy views have raised concern among some officials, will have the opportunity to reshape the agency’s leadership structure to this liking.

“Dr. Waddell is highly respected and very well liked within the White House and the United States Army,” Walters added. “We thank him for his continued service.”

News of Waddell’s exit plans was first reported by Axios.

[Politico]

Senior Trump Appointee Fired After Critical Comments

A senior Trump administration official was fired following criticism in a private speech of President Donald Trump’s policies and his inner circle of advisers.

Craig Deare, whom Trump appointed a month ago to head the National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere division, was on Friday escorted out of the Executive Office Building, where he worked in Washington.

A senior White House official confirmed that Deare is no longer working at the NSC and has returned to the position he previously held at the National Defense University. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an incident not otherwise made public, and provided no further details.

But current and former administration officials say Deare’s termination was linked to remarks he made Thursday at a private talk at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

According to one person who attended the discussion, Deare slammed the Trump administration for its policies on Latin America, specifically its rocky start to relations with Mexico. That person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a private event.

Trump signed an order in the first week of his presidency to build a border wall with Mexico, jumpstarting a campaign promise. The move prompted Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel his trip to Washington in late January.

The person who attended the Wilson Center discussion also said that Deare openly expressed frustration over being cut out of most of the policy discussions about Mexico, saying that members of Trump’s inner circle, including chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, have not consulted with NSC directorates as the White House formulates policy.

Officials at the State Department have expressed similar sentiments regarding the president and his administration’s take on diplomacy. Last week, when the president met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, no one from the State Department had been involved in those talks. Instead, Kushner, who had little diplomatic experience, had a greater role in the meeting than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Several staffers in the State Department have also been laid off.

Deare has been on the faculty of National Defense University in Washington since 2001. He joined the university’s College of International Security Affairs in 2010 and most recently served as dean of administration.

The person who attended the Wilson Center talk also noted that Deare made several remarks about how attractive Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, appeared, remarks that person described as “awkward.” Mr. Trump has also made several remarks in the past about how attractive his eldest daughter is, once commenting on a television talk show, that “if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I would be dating her.”

Deare did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Officials with the Wilson Center also declined a request for information, saying the discussion was off the record.

Deare is the second senior NSC official to leave in under a week. On Monday, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, resigned after revelations that he discussed sanctions with a Russian diplomat before Trump was sworn in, then misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of those conversations.

(h/t CBS News)

Update

Since being fired from the National Security Counsel, Deare has been reassigned back to his old position at National Defense University.