A feud between White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster and the president’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is underway over a so-called “enemies list” of Obama administration holdovers who should have been fired early on in the administration.
Though the officials in question have apparently concluded their tenure on the National Security Council, two unnamed senior administration officials said the list is the source of a long-running conflict between McMaster and Bannon, reported the Daily Beast.
The feud is the exact type of thing that John Kelly was brought into the White House to remedy, according to the report. Kelly is the White House’s new chief of staff.
Questions over loyalty to Bannon versus loyalty to McMaster led the national security adviser to recently terminate two top aides, which the Daily Beast said has landed McMaster in the firing line of Bannon’s “alt-right media allies and Russian troll bots, both calling for his ouster,” the news outlet wrote.
Kelly gave McMaster the go-ahead to fire National Security Council intelligence director Ezra Cohen-Watnick and retired Col. Derek Harvey, the security council’s Mideast director, in an apparent effort to stem the tide of animosity. Both aides reportedly had secret national security conversations with Bannon without seeking McMaster’s permission.
President Trump had issued a statement in support of McMaster on Friday, saying: “General McMaster and I are working very well together. He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”
Still, officials suggest that hasn’t quieted Bannon’s ire over the terminations.