The Fading Dignity of H.R. McMaster

WASHINGTON – The slow-motion tragedy playing out in the nation’s capital has claimed yet another reputation, following the obliteration of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s decades of regard last week when administration spokespeople initially laid responsibility for the firing of former FBI Director James Comey at the feet of a poorly drafted memo supplied by Rosenstein.

Now, General H.R. McMaster, serving as National Security Advisor after the disgrace of Michael Flynn (and after another candidate referred to the role in the Trump White House as a “shit sandwich” and declined the job) has been thrust before cameras to mislead the public about the President’s boasts of an intelligence partner’s secretly obtained intel. It took just hours for his boss to take to Twitter and assert that sharing another government’s secrets with a hostile Putin regime was within his rights. While technically true, the argument is designed to obscure, not enlighten.

Sean Spicer’s degraded state is hardly worth mentioning. The nation has more confidence in pronouncements from Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of Spicer than in the words the man himself utters. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Spicer’s deputy, was only ever a hack, but still the country watched with fascination as the pair spent two days asserting a ridiculous scenario, with Rod Rosenstein as the central player, as fact, only to have their boss demolish their credibility (again) in a sit-down with Lester Holt.

McMaster is unique among this crew of what Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has termed “Dignity Wraiths.” McMaster was reportedly ordered to take the post, and as a uniformed officer, he had no choice but to comply. Now he’s facing the same fading credibility and diminished stature as everyone else on Team Trump. Have sympathy for the man. Soon the lawns surrounding the White House will be graveyards for the reputations of all who work there, and some have served the country for decades to earn them.

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