McMaster touts efforts during Trump's 'eventful' first year

McMaster touts efforts during Trump's 'eventful' first year
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H.R. McMaster touted President TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ MORE's "eventful" first year in office on Friday as the president's second national security adviser marked his exit from the administration. 

McMaster, a three-star Army general who is departing his White House position after a little more than a year, heaped praise on Trump in a statement for his moves to put pressure on North Korea and push to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"We helped the President set forth a strategic direction for the United States to protect the American people, promote American prosperity, preserve peace through strength, and advance American influence," McMaster said of his time leading the National Security Council.

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The retiring general also cited the Trump administration's push to curtail Russia's "destabilizing" military efforts across the globe in places such as Ukraine and Syria, as the U.S. continues to grapple with the country's attempts to meddle in the U.S. electoral process.

And he mentioned the United States's "realistic approach" to China, which has responded to a series of tariff announcements by Trump with reciprocal measures. McMaster said the U.S. "recognizes that we must compete to counter China’s economic aggression as we promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region."

McMaster's departure comes after months of tension with Trump, who reportedly delayed the decision to fire him out of respect and in order to find a suitable replacement more attuned to Trump's foreign policy positions.

John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations set to replace McMaster, will start work on Monday. He is set to become Trump's third national security adviser, following the brief tenure of Michael Flynn who was fired weeks into the position early in Trump's administration.

"I look forward to many more years of accomplishment from this Administration. I wish the very best to my successor, Ambassador John Bolton. And I thank President Trump for the opportunity to serve our Nation as National Security Advisor," McMaster said Friday.

During his last day on Friday, McMaster received a standing ovation and warm sendoffs from White House staff as he left the grounds.