Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday that there were some White House advisers who believed their job was to save the world from President Donald Trump.
McMaster explained that when he joined CBS’ Scott Pelley to discuss his new book, “Battlegrounds,” on “60 Minutes.” (RELATED: McMaster Calls National Security Leaks To The Media ‘Treasonous’)
Pelley introduced McMaster, a three-star general who claims no allegiance to either political party, saying, “He told us the last few presidents, not just President Trump, have left the United States vulnerable in the eyes of those who would do us harm. How do our competitors view the United States today?”
McMaster said that competitors — specifically China and Russia — likely see the United States as “weak and divided.”
“I think they see an opportunity. I think China thinks it’s winning. You know, China sees an America that is divided against each other,” McMaster said, citing what he called the “triple crisis of Covid-19” — the spread of the virus, the subsequent recession and the civil unrest that followed the death of George Floyd.
“And so, China is acting, I think, now much more aggressively because they think it’s time to do it. They have a window of opportunity to exploit our weaknesses and to come after us. I think Russia feels the same way. I think other adversaries could feel the same way,” McMaster explained.
“The very first line in your book is, ‘This is not the book that most people wanted me to write,'” Pelley prompted then.
“Right. People wanted me to write another tell-all about my time in the Trump Administration,” McMaster said. “People wanted me to write another book about palace intrigue. I think what Americans need today is we need— we need— a discussion— a meaningful, a respectful discussion about these very serious challenges to our security, our prosperity and our influence in the world.”
McMaster went on to say that while he got a wide range of advice from friends and family members — both for and against — when he was asked to serve in the Trump administration, he found the decision to be an easy one.
Pelley went on to ask McMaster what he thought about rivalries within the West Wing, and the former National Security Adviser explained that he believed there were several different agendas in play.
“There is certainly one group of people there who are there to serve the elected president and to serve the country,” he said. “I think there are other groups there though, as well, a second group that is there really, instead of providing options to the elected president, they really want to advance their narrow agendas. And then I think there’s a third group, and I think this is true probably of any administration, who cast themselves in the role of saving the country and maybe the world from the president.”
“Were you trying to save the world from the president?” Pelley asked.
“No. It was my duty to help the president come to his own decisions,” McMaster replied.