President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he had accepted Gen. Stanley McChrystal's resignation as commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, The Hill has confirmed.
Obama has selected Gen. David Petraeus to replace McChrystal.
"If he is the choice, that's an excellent choice. I think it's a
brilliant stroke. Clearly competent," Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said on
MSNBC in reaction to the pick. "Clearly he's the guy that can take over
now and ram this policy through to success."
In remarks in the Rose Garden this afternoon, the president said he'd accepted McChrystal's resignation with "considerable regret" for controversial remarks the general had made to Rolling Stone magazine, in which he criticized Obama and other top administration officials.
Obama said the decision was not made "with any personal insult."
The pair met for roughly half an hour Wednesday morning at the White House before McChrystal left, after which Obama met with his national security team.
Obama said he accepted McChrystal's resignation "with considerable regret, but also with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military, and with our country."
"He has earned a reputation as one of our finest soldiers," Obama added in lauding McChrystal's "remarkable career in uniform."
The president said the general's remarks undermined the civilian leadership of the military and the chain of command. McChrystal's criticism in the magazine "does not meet the standard that should be set for a commanding general," Obama said.
The president also praised Petraeus's decision to take over operations in Afghanistan, but made clear that he intended the shake-up only as a way to refocus the U.S. on its strategy in Afghanistan.
"I am extraordinarily grateful that he has agreed to serve in this new capacity," Obama said of Petraeus. "This is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy."
The president urged the Senate to confirm Petraeus for the new role "as swiftly as possible."
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) hailed the
move as a "historically significant moment in the Obama presidency."
"The president has taken the crisis in the Rolling Stone article," Lieberman said on MSNBC, "and turned it into a decisive show of presidential leadership."
Sam Youngman contributed to this report
This story was updated at 2 p.m.