I teach kindergarten-aged children. They don’t act that horribly.
This new report from Buzzfeed News, based on multiple sources, suggests that during a July dinner with the CEO of Oracle, Safra Catz, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster poured out his frustrations about his boss, and what he said closely followed the sentiments allegedly expressed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Over a July dinner with Oracle CEO Safra Catz — who has been mentioned as a candidate for several potential administration jobs — McMaster bluntly trashed his boss, said the sources, four of whom told BuzzFeed News they heard about the exchange directly from Catz. The top national security official dismissed the president variously as an “idiot” and a “dope” with the intelligence of a “kindergartner,” the sources said.
A sixth source who was not familiar with the details of the dinner told BuzzFeed News that McMaster had made similarly derogatory comments about Trump’s intelligence to him in private, including that the president lacked the necessary brainpower to understand the matters before the National Security Council.
I’ve actually heard the part about Trump’s inability to grasp NSC matters, before.
And of course, there are denials. Now.
“Actual participants in the dinner deny that General McMaster made any of the comments attributed to him by anonymous sources. Those false comments represent the diametric opposite of General McMaster’s actual views,” said Michael Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
C’mon. What were they going to say?
Yeah. He said it. So?
That’s not likely.
Oracles Senior VP for government affairs Ken Glueck has said that they only talked about China and said Catz completely agrees with him (even though Catz recounted the story to multiple others).
Glueck responded to repeated inquiries only after BuzzFeed News contacted the NSC. And according to two sources with knowledge of the situation, administration officials threatened to retaliate against several figures with knowledge of the July dinner if they spoke to BuzzFeed News. Asked whether he had made his statement under pressure from the administration, Glueck responded, “ridiculous.”
You may remember during the summer months there was reported conflict, as it was suggested that Trump wasn’t very happy with McMaster and had expressed openly that he wanted Michael Flynn back.
That’s certainly not likely to happen, now, as Flynn’s involvement in the ongoing Russia probe seems to be deepening.
Still, when you put the stories from the summer together, along with this latest, it kind of makes sense.
McMaster’s allegedly dismissive comments are the latest suggestion that at least some of Trump’s senior-most aides see their jobs as containing a president who isn’t up to the task. In October, NBC News and other outlets reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a “moron” in a July meeting at the Pentagon. Also in October, Republican Sen. Bob Corker told the New York Times that a group of senior administration officials have banded together to try to keep Trump under control.
It’s not a bad idea, and we’ve heard the reports of Chief of Staff John Kelly’s attempts to wrangle Trump (to no apparent avail).
I have no trouble believing any of this, and it’s not just confirmation bias. It’s the consistency of the tales.
In August, another publication, Axios, suggested that after the July dinner, big money donor Sheldon Adelson, was concerned enough that he backed a campaign that painted McMaster as “anti-Israel.” That was based on Catz’s recollection of the dinner, where she described McMaster as praising Obama’s Iran deal and calling Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory as “a problem.”
If the reports are to be believed, it wasn’t just Trump that McMaster was over-sharing about.
But these new details reveal that the subject matter of McMaster’s dinner with Catz, which sources tell BuzzFeed News took place on July 18 at the Washington, DC, restaurant Tosca, ranged far from geopolitics. Indeed, three of the sources said that McMaster disparaged multiple members of the administration to Catz, including Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Of Kushner, one source told BuzzFeed News, McMaster said he had no business being in the White House and should not be involved in national security issues.
Yeah. He’s not wrong.
“[Catz] said the conversation was so inappropriate that it was jaw-dropping,” another source told BuzzFeed News.
Catz, who at one time was considered for several administration positions, after serving on the executive committee of Trump’s transition team, did tell several members of the administration, as well as Adelson about McMasters’ dinner conversation.
I guess she just got him at the peak of his frustration with the clown show.