Donald Trump has reportedly decided to sack National Security Advisor HR McMaster, in what would be the latest in a string of high-profile White House departures.
The US president is discussing potential replacements for Lt General McMaster, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
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But he is said to be willing to take his time because he wants to avoid humiliating him as well as to have a successor ready.
The Post said that some in the White House were hesitant to remove Lt General McMaster until he had "a promotion to four-star rank or other comfortable landing spot."
Sarah Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, said there were no changes at the National Security Council, a response that avoided the issue of whether any were being planned.
Just spoke to @POTUS and Gen. H.R. McMaster – contrary to reports they have a good working relationship and there are no changes at the NSC.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 16, 2018
While Mr Trump reportedly wants to avoid humiliating Lt General McMaster, that did not appear to have been a particularly high priority when he removed secretary of state Rex Tillerson two days ago, a move he announced on Twitter.
A top aide said Mr Tillerson did not speak to the president before his firing was announced and was not given a reason for his dismissal.
After the sacking, the president signalled that a shake-up at the top levels of his administration was not over.
"I’m really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want," Mr Trump said.
Youre fired: Who Donald Trump has sacked and who has resigned during his time as president
Mr Trump has complained that Lt General McMaster, a three-star Army general, is too rigid and that his briefings go on too long and seem irrelevant, the Post reported.
Lt General McMaster is Mr Trump’s second national security adviser, succeeding Michael Flynn who was dismissed a year ago for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Mr Tillerson’s sacking came less than two weeks after Mr Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn quit in protest against the president’s decision to levy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
Profile | Lt General HR McMaster
The previous year saw the departure of Mr Trump’s first national security advisor Michael Flynn – who lasted just 22 days in his post – as well as chief strategist Steve Bannon, who made it seven months, and Reince Priebus, who stayed in his job for less than six.
Speculation is rife over who will be the next official to go.
Candidates include education secretary Betsy DeVos, who struggled in two recent TV interviews, housing and urban development secretary Ben Carson, who controversially spent over $30,000 on a dining room set, the Post said.