Politics, North America
The firebrand former UN ambassador continues to swim in the president’s inner orbit—and exit signs are blaring for National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster.
Exit signs continue to blare for H. R. “I have a job” McMaster, Donald Trump’s beleaguered National Security Advisor. On the ropes since August, the leader of the National Security Council tried to insist earlier this week that the talk was little more than piffle. “I have a job,” McMaster said from the White House. “It’s a tremendous job every day to advance and protect the interests of American people and to do my best to provide options to our president — and once he makes decisions, to assist with the execution of those decisions.”
Little more convincing than President Trump’s “Rex is here” statement following December’s brouhaha instigated by an administration-planted story in the New York Times that Tillerson was a political dead man, McMaster’s statement did little to swat down rampant internal speculation that this may be finally it. On the minds of many senior administration officials—namely Tillerson, McMaster and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn (who has cut an omnibus profile in the administration, unusual for his position)—is the desire to stay at least one year. At stake is both pride, but also a lot of money. “There’s a law that allows members of the executive branch to sell and diversify any concentrated stock positions they have and not pay (defer) the capital gains taxes they would otherwise owe upon the sale,” explains one experienced financial advisor in New York who is very familiar with the process. “This is what [former Treasury Secretary] Henry ‘Hank’ Paulson did with all his Goldman stock. For ex-CEOs, it saves them ten or hundreds of millions of dollars.” Cohn, who is with the president in Davos, has hit that one-year mark. He may leave after returning from Europe.