The conventional wisdom of late is that Secretary of Defense James Mattis and new National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster are now essentially running the military and defense aspects of the Donald Trump administration, while Trump himself plays golf. But that’s either changed, or one of the Trump’s key alt-right allies is trying to make it change, based on his new claim.
Mike Cernovich is not a reliable source of information. In fact, as the conspiracy theorist who helped popularize the phony “pizzagate” scandal that nearly got innocent people killed, his word is precisely the opposite of reliable. But he does seem to have the ear of Donald Trump, or at least of some of the alt-right extremists in the Trump administration. So that makes it notable that this evening Cernovich insisted that “McMaster has been kept out of several White House meetings at the President’s request” (link). Again, he can’t be taken at his word based on track record. But this does tell us something.
There are two distinct possibilities here. One is that the balance of power in Trump’s White House has shifted yet again, and for whatever reason, traditional military man H.R. McMaster is now on the outs just two months after he replaced the controversial Michael Flynn. The other is that the extremist flank of the Trump administration has grown tired of people like Mattis and McMaster being influential on military matters, and this is disinformation that’s been given to Cernovich in the hope of creating trouble between Trump and McMaster where there is none.
It’s notable that this development is coming just a few days after word surfaced that Steve Bannon, essentially the leader of the alt-right extremists in Trump’s White House, is on his way out entirely (link). Is the Bannon flank now trying to pick off McMaster in retaliation? One way or the other, the claim about McMaster is the latest sign of ongoing dissension within Trump’s unstable White House. Help fund Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report