Trump Stands By White House Official Accused of Being Anti-Israel
Trump risks upsetting his Christian supporters by backing official with history of being hostile toward Israel
US President Donald Trump has risked upsetting his Christian supporters by openly supporting embattled National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. H.R. McMaster amid charges that the latter is anti-Israel.
McMaster's appointment by Trump ruffled pro-Israel feathers months ago due to his previous support for the Iran nuclear deal and his referring to the Jewish state as an "occupying power."
It was widely rumored that during Trump's visit to Israel earlier this year, it was McMaster that ultimately convinced the president to not allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accompany him to the Western Wall.
Trump initially wanted Netanyahu by his side, a move that would have firmly demonstrated America's commitment to a united Jerusalem under Israeli rule.
McMaster was again making waves last when he fired Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council.
Like two other NSC officials recently fired by McMaster, Cohen-Watnick is staunchly pro-Israel and, as such, vehemently opposed to the Iran nuclear deal in its current form.
In short, McMaster's recent moves seem to be in service to maintaining a situation in the Middle East that Netanyahu has described as an existential threat to Israel, an assessment with which Trump previously agreed.
That led to a social media backlash, with millions posting messages to Twitter accompanied by the hashtag #FireMcMaster.
The president, who as we all know frequents Twitter, shot back in a letter he sent to the New York Times.
"General McMaster and I are working very well together," Trump insisted. "He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country."