The Note: McMaster Joins the Ranks of Trump’s Administration

ByABC News
February 21, 2017, 7:20 AM

— -- Trump’s First 100 Days with SHUSHANNAH WALSHE

Day No. 33

THE BIG STORY: The search for a national security adviser is over. Sat together on a couch at Mar-a-Lago behind a massive bouquet of red roses, President Trump announced his pick as Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster. McMaster is known for his independent thinking and it was a choice widely praised by Republicans. McMaster replaces the dismissed Michael Flynn after he misled the vice president about his discussions with the Russian ambassador. Trump confirmed yesterday Pence helped with the new selection. With the choice of McMaster, the Trump administration is hoping to put the drama of the Flynn business behind them and move on. "He’s a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience, I’ve watched and read a lot over the last few days, he is highly respected by everyone in the military and we are very honored to have him," the president said of McMaster when he announced his choice. McMaster will remain on active duty while filling the post and is another example of the president’s reliance on high-ranking military officers in his administration. The selection also came as Pence tried to reassure European allies on his first overseas trip. Pence, along with the secretaries of defense and state also fresh off European trips, aimed to calm allies of American support for NATO and assure them they do speak for the new president.

THE SLEEPER STORY: It’s the story that’s sticking around. The president was asked twice last week in consecutive press conferences to address concerns about rising anti-Semitic incidents. They were seemingly easy opportunity to denounce anti-Semitism and increasing threats against Jewish people in this country, but the president did not. Instead, the first time Trump brought up his electoral college victory and his own Jewish friends and relatives and the second time he just said, “ I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life” and heavily criticized the ultra-Orthodox Jewish reporter who asked the question. After another wave of threats against Jewish community centers or JCCs around the country, the White House responded last night with a statement from press secretary Sean Spicer: "Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.” Of course, he has not made it abundantly clear, despite his recent opportunities. His daughter, Ivanka who is Jewish, tweeted last night on the incidents writing, “America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC” But, with her father dodging the question and these incidents continuing, the president will keep getting asked this question. Will he answer?

THE SHINY STORY: We are coming off a holiday weekend, but in case you have been focused on family and fun instead of politics, the Sweden kerfuffle remains the shiny story. Over the weekend, the president saw a segment on Fox News about Sweden and immigration and at his first 2020 campaign rally on Saturday seemed to reference an incident or attack in Sweden the night before that never happened. The president has access to the highest levels of intelligence briefings and experts on both terrorism and immigration, but in the quick reference, we see his continued reliance on cable news. And this one did cause an international outcry. It’s a distraction, no doubt, but another example of an awkward and unnecessary diplomatic fumble in the first weeks of this new administration.

TLDR: The president ended his search for a new national security adviser, announcing yesterday at Mar-a-Lago he has selected Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, a choice widely praised, but again shows his reliance on military officers for his top security positions.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: On Presidents’ Day yesterday, some Americans chose to protest the current president at “Not My President Day” rallies across this country. This image is from one in Salt Lake City where a man looks like he is dressed as Uncle Sam for the demonstration. (Credit: Rick Bowmer/AP Photo)

PHOTO: Demonstrators hold a rally, Feb. 20, 2017, in Salt Lake City. The rally is one of several Not My Presidents Day protests planned across the country to mark the Presidents Day holiday.
Demonstrators hold a rally, Feb. 20, 2017, in Salt Lake City. The rally is one of several Not My Presidents Day protests planned across the country to mark the Presidents Day holiday.


--TRUMP'S REVISED IMMIGRATION ORDER EXPECTED TO RENEW BAN ON 7 MUSLIM-MAJORITY COUNTRIES: A revised version of President Trump's executive order on immigration and refugee admittance is expected to contain language again targeting seven Muslim-majority countries deemed "terror-prone," but exclude an automatic ban on Syrian refugees, senior administration officials told ABC News Monday. The countries are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. The new draft also contains an exemption for existing green card holders and dual U.S. citizens from the seven countries, one of the officials said, an explicit difference from the original order signed last month. Another senior administration official said Trump is expected to sign the order "by the end of the week." ABC’s ALEXANDER MALLIN and KATHERINE FAULDERS have more:

--TRUMP NAMES LT. GEN. H.R. MCMASTER AS NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: President Donald Trump announced Monday that Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is his new national security adviser -- and White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he would remain on active duty while filling the post, ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY and KATHERINE FAULDERS report. Trump made the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and said Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who has been acting national security adviser since Flynn left, will remain as the chief of staff for the National Security Council. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MCMASTER, courtesy of ABC’s RILEY BEGGIN.

--HAPPENING TODAY - TRUMP TO VISIT AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MUSEUM: President Donald Trump is set to visit the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture Tuesday, ABC’s KATHERINE FAULDERS notes. The president was initially scheduled to visit the museum in observance of Martin Luther King Day but ABC News later learned that the visit was removed from his calendar due to scheduling issues and was not fully planned out.


VP MIKE PENCE 'DISAPPOINTED' FLYNN MISLED HIM ON RUSSIA. Vice President Mike Pence today said he was "disappointed" that now former national security adviser Michael Flynn misled him about the nature of his conversations with Russian officials during the presidential transition period. "I was disappointed to learn that the facts that had been conveyed to me by Gen. Flynn were inaccurate," Pence told reporters at a joint news conference with the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels. "I fully support the president's decision to ask for his resignation." It was Pence's first time speaking about President Trump's asking Flynn to resign, ABC’s RYAN STRUYK notes.

MILO YIANNOPOULOS, CONTROVERSIAL BREITBART EDITOR, DISINVITED TO SPEAK AT CPAC. Controversial Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos will not be the keynote speaker at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the group that organizes the event said today. Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union, the group that organizes CPAC, said in a statement that the decision was "due to the revelation of an offensive video in the past 24 hours condoning pedophilia." Yiannopoulos -- whose scheduled appearance last month at the University of California Berkeley sparked riots and was cancelled -- responded to the allegation that he appeared to be defending pedophilia in a post on Facebook. ABC’s JOHN VERHOVEK has more:


‘THINK MOUNT RUSHMORE TO UNITE THE COUNTRY, BUILD RESPECT’ - COLUMN from Matthew Dowd: “Let us reflect on what has made our greatest presidents great. First, they sought to unify the country and build up the bonds that linked all Americans to each other. Second, they were respected by nations around the world as symbols of leadership and integrity. Look at Mount Rushmore and see that these are the values that are consistent across the four faces carved into the South Dakota stone. President Trump had and has the chance to be a transformational leader in America, and has talked about making America great. But unless he follows the lead of our greatest presidents, he will likely go down in history as mediocre, at best, or an abject failure, at the worst.” MORE:


@RachelSB: A brief history of Donald Trump addressing questions about racism and anti-Semitism

@mikerosenwald: Mar-a-Lago 3, Camp David 0. Is the president's rustic retreat doomed?

@nedprice: I resigned from @CIA last week. I wrote about why in the @washingtonpost:

@markscott82: Europe combats new foe of political stability: fake news w/ @meddynyt

@IvankaTrump: America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC

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