White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday declined to say whether Gen. Stanley McChrystal is about to lose his job over disparaging comments he made in Rolling Stone magazine about President Barack Obama and his national security team.
“All options are on the table,” Gibbs told reporters.
McChrystal’s post as top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is on the line in the wake of the Rolling Stone article that quotes him and his staff bashing the administration. One staffer calls National Security Adviser James Jones a “clown”; another refers to Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke as “a wounded animal.” And McChrystal says of Afghanistan Ambassador Karl Eikenberry: “Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, I told you so.'”
Obama has summoned McChrystal to the White House on Wednesday to explain his comments. Gibbs said the two would likely meet alone to discuss the matter, in addition to meeting with other military officials in a regularly scheduled meeting in the Situation Room.
The White House spokesman said he gave a copy of the article to the president Monday night, at which point he became “angry.”
“You could guess there are a number of points in which anger might be your reaction,” he said.
Gibbs dodged questions about McChrystal’s credibility among the troops and repeatedly punted on questions about whether the general deserved to be terminated over the article. But he signaled that the White House is taking McChrystal’s remarks seriously.
“Let’s be clear: Gen. McChrystal … has fought bravely on behalf of this country for a long time. Nobody could or should take that away from him, and nobody will. But there has clearly been an enormous mistake in judgment to which he’s going to have to answer to,” he said.