The Slatest

Alt-Right Campaign Against H.R. McMaster Now Involves Explosive Allegation That He Has Connections to a Jew

H.R. McMaster, George Soros.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Olivier Hoslet/AFP/Getty Images and Alex Wong/Getty Images.

The Weekly Standard—which though conservative is largely a #NeverTrump publication—has a nice overview Monday of the right-wing/alt-right campaign against national security adviser H.R. McMaster. (McMaster has earned the ire of the internet’s hard-line Trump enthusiasts by firing the conspiracy theorists and cranks who were inserted at the National Security Council by Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn before McMaster took over. To wit, see last month’s dismissal of a “strategic planning” official named Rich Higgins who wrote in an internal memo that “Islamists” have formed an alliance with American “cultural Marxists” to create a “Maoist insurgency” and “counter-state” within the U.S. via the deployment of “coordinated synchronized interactive narratives.” Interesting stuff, Rich!) One bit in particular is worth examining in more detail: Breitbart’s promotion of a hot scoop that connects McMaster to George Soros.

The takeaway of this attack post is that McMaster was once affiliated with a mainstream national security think tank called the International Institute for Strategic Studies, which received some nonsecret funding from the Ploughshares Fund. In turn, the Ploughshares Fund’s donors include George Soros. Now, in Reality World, Soros is a billionaire who donates in transparent ways to groups that, while left-leaning, are not particularly radical: Other donors to the Ploughshares Fund include such stalwarts of establishment philanthropy as the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation, and Soros’ connection to Ploughshares is not a secret. In Alt-Right Conspiracy World, though, Soros is the sinister manifestation of scheming international “globalism” who personally pays every Trump protester on behalf of ISIS, and his tenuous link to McMaster thus renders the national security adviser immediately suspect.

McMaster’s nemesis Steve Bannon, of course, used to be Breitbart’s chairman, and the site has long been a key cog in the Soros-hysteria machine. After Bannon joined the Trump campaign, he supervised the release of an ad in which Soros was pictured prominently alongside two other Jewish finance figures (Janet Yellen and Lloyd Blankfein) as a narrator spoke ominously about the “global special interests” who have “robbed our working class” and “stripped our country of its wealth.” Bannon has also helped Trump cultivate the support of the kinds of white supremacists and neo-Nazis who complain about the “Jewish influence,” illustrate meme images with swastikas, and highlight the names of Jewish individuals such as Soros by putting brackets around them. On a personal level, Bannon allegedly once told his now-ex-wife that he didn’t want his daughters attending a school with significant Jewish enrollment. So it makes sense that Breitbart, in an attempt to do a solid for its man in the White House, would think that the worst thing it could possibly reveal about H.R. McMaster is that he has a thirdhand connection to a Jewish guy. Devastating!