Michael Anton Out at the National Security Council, Days After McMaster’s Departure

Michael Anton, National Security Adviser, waits in the East Room of the White House in Washington of the start of President Donald Trump's news conference, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton was pushed out of the White House, according to multiple sources after he announced Sunday he was leaving.

People “weighed in with the president and weighed in with” incoming National Security Adviser Amb. John Bolton on Anton leaving, according to one source familiar with the pending departure.

Anton’s announcement came just days after the departure of his boss, former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

A former senior administration official told Breitbart News that after McMaster announced he was leaving several weeks ago, Anton called Trump loyalists to try to save his job.

“Upon news of McMaster’s departure, Michael Anton began furiously attempting to call Trump loyalists in an effort to switch sides and save his job,” the former official said.

However, Anton found himself without friends since he had turned on the president’s America First agenda and against Trump loyalists within the National Security Council in an attempt to align himself with McMaster.

“Once Flynn was gone, he turned on the president’s agenda and jumped into McMaster’s camp,” the first source said.

Anton came into the White House at the same time as former National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Flynn. During the campaign, he also penned a widely-read article in support of Trump, although he wrote it under another name.

But after Flynn resigned about a month later, Anton attached himself to McMaster, who was never well-liked by the president.

Anton quickly became a blind defender of McMaster, at one point falsely denying to Breitbart News that he was responsible for some of those Trump loyalist firings.

Sebastian Gorka, former deputy assistant to the president, said there were “high hopes, given that he was the author of the seminal article ‘The Flight 93 Election.’”

But, he added, “Whilst in the National Security Council he moved from being a hardcore MAGA-committed individual to deciding that his future lay in hitching his wagon to Gen. McMaster.”

“He made a strategic choice. It was a great disappointment to those of us who supported the president during the campaign,” Gorka said. Stepping down “is the right thing to do, given the choice he made. It’s clear he would not have been kept and rightly so.”

Anton also gained a reputation for being hostile to reporters and screaming at them over the phone, according to several sources. He would reportedly tell them things like, “Mess with the White House and see what happens,” and brag to others about how hostile he was, according to the former official.

Anton was also a suspected leaker, and one of the president’s mandates to Bolton was to stop the leaks coming from the NSC, sources said.

“The president made it clear to Bolton that one of his first goals was to stop the leaking. Anton was Suspect #1,” said the first source.

Last month, someone leaked to the media that President Donald Trump had congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin for his reelection, fueling criticism of the president.

Someone then leaked that a briefing card for the president had instructed him not to congratulate Putin. Only several people were present during the president’s call, and several people had access to the briefing card — which included McMaster and his staff.

Anton was suspected of “a number of critical leaks,” said the former senior administration official.

“I’m not surprised to see Michael Anton departing, given suspicions of his connections to a number of critical leaks, and John Bolton’s mandate from the president to plug those leaks,” the former official said.

Anton announced his departure via Politico on Sunday evening, the day before Bolton is set to begin his new role on Monday.

He did not say why he was leaving but said he was returning to academia at Hillsdale College as a writer and lecturer.

“I will be forever grateful to President Trump for the opportunity to serve my country and implement his agenda,” he told Politico. “The education I received and the friends I made are — apart from my family and my country — the most cherished things in my life. I am delighted to be returning to my first love and second family,” he said.

The White House released a cheery statement on Anton’s departure, which said the president had called him on Sunday to thank him for his service, and said, “He is a great guy and we will all miss him.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said he was “one of the smartest and most talented individuals” she had ever worked with and an “amazing chef” and “true friend.”

Anton’s last day is expected in the coming weeks, according to Politico.

The next official expected to leave the NSC is Deputy National Security Adviser Nadia Schadlow, who was expressly brought in by McMaster to work on the National Security Strategy.

“With regards to Nadia, she did an amazing job with the NSS,” said Gorka. “I would like her to stay, but I think her commitment was a temporary one tied to the authorship of the NSS.”

“It would be a loss if Nadia decided to leave,” he added.

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