K. T. McFarland, the former Fox News commentator appointed by President Trump as deputy national security adviser, is expected to leave that position soon and may be nominated to be the United States ambassador to Singapore, according to officials briefed on the matter.
Ms. McFarland’s departure had been seen as likely since the forced resignation of Michael T. Flynn, the retired three-star general who was Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser. Mr. Flynn’s successor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, has been moving to put a more traditionally professional stamp on the operations of the National Security Council.
Last week, Mr. Trump signed an order restructuring the council’s “principals committee” along more traditional lines than the version he had initially put in place. It removed Stephen K. Bannon, the White House’s chief strategist and a former chairman of the conservative website Breitbart, while adding several officials Mr. Trump’s original order had left off, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the directors of national intelligence and the C.I.A.
Administration officials briefed on the matter confirmed Ms. McFarland was stepping down, but said her departure would not be immediate. The officials also said her possible nomination for the ambassadorship to Singapore, while likely, had not been finalized.
CNN reported on April 1 that Ms. McFarland was being offered the diplomatic post in Singapore, and Bloomberg News reported on Sunday that she had been asked to step down.
Ms. McFarland’s style had grated against some of the professional staff members on the National Security Council, which sees itself as apolitical. For example, while addressing the staff at a meeting after Mr. Flynn’s ouster, Ms. McFarland noted that she was wearing shoes from Ivanka Trump’s brand, according to an official who was present.
At an earlier meeting about two weeks into the administration, Ms. McFarland invoked Mr. Trump’s campaign slogan, telling the assembled group of career staff members, most of whom had been in the same roles during the Obama administration, that they needed to “make America great again.”
It was not clear whether Dina Powell, whom General McMaster brought in as deputy national security adviser for strategy, would succeed Ms. McFarland as the principal deputy. The official in that role leads interagency “deputies committee” meetings in the Situation Room involving the No. 2 officials from national security agencies and government departments.
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SOURCE: CHARLIE SAVAGE
The New York Times