Retired General H.R. McMaster, who served as national security adviser under President Donald Trump, said the president is “aiding and abetting” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to derail the 2020 elections by sowing doubt about the American electoral system.
The grave warning from McMaster, who Trump handpicked to lead the White House National Security Council in 2017, came in an interview on MSNBC, after he was asked whether he agreed that the president posed the greatest threat to U.S. election integrity.
“I agree that he is aiding and abetting Putin’s efforts by not being direct about this, right? By not just calling out Putin for what he’s doing,” McMaster said.
“You know, Putin gets away with, I mean, literally murder or attempted murder … because people don’t call him out on it,” he added. “And so they are able to continue with this kind of firehose of falsehood, to sow these conspiracy theories. And we just can’t be our own worst enemies.”
McMaster was referring to the president’s complaints about mail-in balloting and claims of widespread voter fraud in the closing months of the general election campaign.
Trump has repeatedly said Democrats are sending millions of “unsolicited” ballots to Americans and that the outcome of the election may not be known for months, if it is ever determined.
However, Trump’s own FBI director, Christopher Wray, testified before Congress last month that bureau officials “have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise.”
McMaster’s remarks Thursday represent perhaps his harshest public criticism of the president since he was ousted from the White House in 2018.