President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, told Business Insider that her new role in the administration, which comes amid reports that she was ousted from the National Security Council, is, in fact, a “promotion.”
McFarland, who is expected to be nominated for an ambassadorship to Singapore, could not confirm her new role, but said it would involve national security policy in the Pacific and that she would “have to pack my bags and move overseas to take the job.”
“I’m very excited at the role that I’m going to be able to play in a part of the world that I think we’ve not paid enough attention to for the last 15 years,” McFarland said. “I think we’ve been focused on the Middle East when the real change, the real opportunities for commerce, diplomacy, et cetera are going to be in the Pacific.”
McFarland framed the reassignment as a voluntary “promotion” that came after Trump asked her whether she would rather remain in the White House or be moved elsewhere.
“I can tell you that I have had a number of conversations with the president in the last two months about what my role would be and he’s offered several things,” McFarland said. “He’s asked me a couple of times, ‘Gee, what would be better — staying in the job you have now or something else?’ And we’re determined that it’s something else.”
In February, H.R. McMaster, a widely respected Army general and military strategist, took over as national security adviser from Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign following reports that he misrepresented conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to Vice President Mike Pence.
Shortly after McMaster joined the administration, he reorganized the NSC, pushing out Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and elevating traditional members of the committee who had been demoted by Trump, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the director of national intelligence, and the CIA director.
Bloomberg reported last month that McMaster and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly forced McFarland off of the NSC.
McFarland reportedly frustrated some officials on the council, which considers itself apolitical, by making partisan comments in meetings. A frequent Fox News contributor, McFarland had been out of government for over 30 years when she joined the Trump administration.
Notably, McFarland has not been included in key national security meetings in recent months, including following the US cruise missile strike on a Syrian government airbase in April, and last week’s Oval Office meeting between Trump, top national security aides, and two Russian officials.
Politico reported earlier this month that Gen. Ricky Waddell will replace McFarland.
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