A participant, paraphrasing McMaster, said: “He said he doesn’t want to call it radical Islamic terrorism because the terrorists are, quote, ‘un-Islamic’.”
McMaster, the participant said, indicated that the phrase castigates “an entire religion” and “he’s not on board”.
At the meeting, multiple sources said, McMaster discomfited White House staffers who view the terrorist threat in those religious terms and who were said to have exchanged awkward looks with each other.
At other points in the meeting, McMaster laid out a vigorous defense of the post-second world war liberal order, calling it a guarantor of peace and economic prosperity. Staffers inferred that McMaster was signaling to professional staff on the National Security Council that he subscribed to longstanding US foreign-policy goals, which Trump has attacked as yielding a chaotic world.
McMaster really does sound like a sensible chap.