WASHINGTON, DC – National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made an abrupt exit from the stage during a Washington, DC, think tank event at which he was speaking, sparking confusion and curiosity from the audience.
McMaster was onstage with British National Security Adviser Mark Sedwill at a forum hosted by Policy Exchange to foster relations between the U.S. and the U.K.
The two each delivered remarks and were about 15 minutes into a question and answer period when McMaster interrupted the moderator and his British counterpart, who was in the middle of answering a question.
“Well, just quickly, I have a phone call that I absolutely have to take,” he said, before going on to answer the question about Iran and North Korea and exiting the stage.
“Thank you so much, and uh, I really appreciate the conversation. I’d like Mark to take on all the other questions. I hope you saved the most difficult ones ’til the end,” he said.
The moderator quickly wrapped up the event.
The sudden end sparked confusion and some joking. An attendee joked to another that it was a call from the “missus.”
Some went online to discuss the awkward departure:
McMaster just abruptly left speaking event after getting a phone call he “absolutely” had to take.
— Zachary Cohen (@ZcohenCNN) December 12, 2017
McMaster announces he has to leave stage at Policy Exchange event early. “I have a phone call that I absolutely have to take”
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) December 12, 2017
— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) December 12, 2017
“I have a phone call 📞 I absolutely have to take” : How McMaster ended a ~ 20min speech criticizing Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Qatar and North Korea … https://t.co/fkxTvJ2JTQ
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) December 12, 2017