McMaster: 'Absolutely' inappropriate to solicit foreign assistance

Image: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster
epa05966910 National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster delivers a statement to members of the news media regarding a Washington Post report,...

It's not common for former prominent members of Donald Trump's inner circle to criticize the president, which made former White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster's comments yesterday all the more notable. From a Foundation for Defense of Democracies event:

REPORTER: Is it appropriate for the president of the United States to solicit foreign interference in our political process?MCMASTER: Of course, no. No, it's absolutely not. And of course, what has to happen here is seeing our democracy play out, our separation of powers play out. And for the American people, through their representatives in Congress, to make a judgment of whether that happened.

Republicans senators such as Iowa's Joni Ernst and Colorado's Cory Gardner should take note. There's a core question about whether a president should seek foreign campaign assistance, and McMaster, a retired three-star Army general, answered it the right way.

Of course, it's not appropriate. It's "absolutely not" the right thing to do.

It took a little courage for the president's former national security adviser to effectively denounce his former boss' actions, but McMaster did it anyway. Trump has reportedly kept in touch with the retired general -- by some accounts, the president has told McMaster he misses him -- though it seems likely their relationship will turn frostier now that McMaster took a principled stand in public.

Just as importantly, the former White House national security adviser isn't impressed with his former boss' new policy in Syria, either.

"Our forces there served as a useful means of preventing what we see now, which is a Turkish-Kurdish civil war that has profound political as well as humanitarian consequences," McMaster said yesterday, characterizing the shift in U.S. policy as "unfortunate."

If the president starts publishing rude tweets about McMaster, at least we'll know why.