US President Donald Trump has announced former UN ambassador John Bolton will take over as national security adviser, replacing HR McMaster.
Mr Trump announced in a tweet he was ousting Mr McMaster for Mr Bolton, who has advocated using military force against Iran and North Korea, and has taken a hard line against Russia.
Mr Bolton, 69, who has long been a polarising figure in Washington foreign policy circles, will become Mr Trump’s third national security adviser in 14 months.
As the State Department’s top arms control official under former president George W Bush, Mr Bolton was a leading advocate of the 2003 invasion of Iraq — which was later found to have been based on bogus and exaggerated intelligence about president Saddam Hussein’s weapons arsenal and ties to terrorism.
Mr Trump tweeted that Mr McMaster had done “an outstanding job and will always remain my friend”.
He said Mr Bolton would take over on April 9.
Mr Trump has repeatedly clashed with Mr McMaster, a respected three-star general.
White House promised no major staff changes
Talk that Mr McMaster would soon leave the administration had picked up in recent weeks.
His departure follows Mr Trump’s dramatic sacking of secretary of state Rex Tillerson last week.
It also comes after someone at the White House leaked that Mr Trump was urged in briefing documents not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin about his recent re-election win. Mr Trump did it anyway
Mr McMaster was brought in after Mr Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was dismissed.
Last week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House would not see any major staff changes in the near future.
In a statement released by the White House, Mr McMaster said he would request retirement from the US Army effective this US summer, adding that afterward he would “leave public service”.
The White House said Mr McMaster’s exit had been under discussion for some time and stressed it was not due to any one incident.
(Between The Lines)
On Friday, Mr Trump moved to impose $77 billion in tariffs on imports from China, sending shivers through Wall Street and prompting a vow from Beijing to “fight to the end”.
Under the terms of the memorandum, Mr Trump will target the Chinese imports only after a consultation period, a measure that will give industry lobbyists and legislators a chance to water down a proposed target list which runs to 1,300 products.
China’s Washington embassy said it did not want a trade war, but would not recoil from one and would “fight to the end … with all necessary measures”.