WASHINGTON - K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, is about to leave the White House for an ambassadorial position abroad, according to multiple reports published on Sunday, in yet another upheaval in the National Security Council.
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McFarland's ouster has been expected ever since Michael Flynn, the former National Security Adviser who brought her on the job, resigned as a result of the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties with Russia.
McFarland, 65, joined the Trump White House after working for the last few years as an analyst on Fox News. Her hawkish line on Iran and Islam made her a natural choice for Flynn, who had been a proponent of anti-Islamic conspiracy theories. She reportedly also enjoyed a good relationship with Trump's senior adviser Steve Bannon. However, her position in the White House became uncertain after Flynn's resignation in mid-February and with the arrival of his replacement H.R. McMaster, an active-duty general with a more moderate and nuanced view of Islam and the fight against terrorism.
McMaster's selection by Trump signaled the possibility that McFarland would be reassigned - as did the appointment of Dina Powell, a former Bush administration official, to the position of Deputy National Security Adviser alongside McFarland.
Last week it was reported that McFarland would soon leave the White House for an ambassadorial position, and on Sunday Bloomberg News quoted administration officials confirming she would be named the ambassador to Singapore. The story was later confirmed by multiple news outlets.
Over the weekend there were a number of reports saying that Trump was considering firing Bannon, after earlier this week he removed the controversial adviser from the National Security Council. According to the reports, which were denied by the White House, Bannon has been clashing lately with Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who has emerged as the main opponent of his extremist policies.
McFarland's ouster, coming on top of Flynn's resignation and Bannon's removal from the NSC, is perceived as strengthening the more moderate wing of Trump's administration, which supports a more traditional national security policy, led by McMaster, Powell, Defense Secretary James Mattis and other officials. One sign of their influence was Trump's description of Islam as a peaceful religion during his meeting with Egyptian President Sissi last week, during which he also said it was important to promote a "moderate understanding" of Islam.