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March 16, 2018

Reports: Trump to remove Philly native H.R. McMaster as national security adviser

Possibly continuing his purge of top White House officials, President Donald Trump is expected to oust national security advisor and Philadelphia native H.R. McMaster, according to reports.

The Washington Post, citing five sources close to the situation, reported Thursday that Trump had never clicked with the three-star Army general and now plans to boot him from the administration.

McMaster, 55, was raised in Roxborough and attended grade school at Norwood Fontbonne Academy, a private Catholic K-8 school in Chestnut Hill. He graduated from Valley Forge Military College in 1980 and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1984.

Earlier this year, Valley Forge Military College renamed its Center for Advancement of Security Studies for McMaster.

The Trump administration also has seen the recent departure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Gary Cohn, the president's top economic advisor. Tillerson was fired while Cohn left because of disagreements over trade tariffs.

Contradicting reports, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Thursday that Trump and McMcaster have a good working relationships and no major changes are coming to the National Security Council.

But CNN reports that the decision to move on from McMaster likely will be delayed as the administration works to find a replacement and McMaster decides his next move, whether that be in the military or a position outside the government.

Another Trump Cabinet member with Philadelphia ties also is reported to be on the hot seat.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, the former chief medical officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and other city hospitals, became embroiled in controversy after the Washington Post reported Shulkin, while on a taxpayer-paid, 10-day European trip in July 2017, spent nearly half of his time shopping and sightseeing with his wife.

In February, the Inspector General of Veterans Affairs found Shulkin and his staff had misrepresented the nature of the trip to both agency ethics officials and the public. The report found that Shulkin’s chief of staff had altered emails and made false statements to make it appear that Shulkin was being honored by the Danish government to justify his wife’s presence on the taxpayer-funded trip. The VA paid more than $4,300 for her airfare, the report said.

In addition to the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Shulkin was chief medical officer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University Hospital and the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital, which merged with Drexel University.

He earned his doctor of medicine degree from Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1986. His other academic positions include chairman of medicine and vice dean at Drexel University College of Medicine, and professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Multiple reports this week indicate Trump is growing weary over the fallout from the European trip controversy, and that Shulkin could be the next Cabinet member fired.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Pete Hegseth, a Fox News personality and conservative voice on veterans’ issues, is the leading candidate to replace Shulkin.