White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs would not say if Gen. Stanley McChrystal will keep his job following the Rolling Stone profile portraying the top commander in Afghanistan as mocking President Obama and top administration officials.
A reporter asked, “Is McChrystal’s job safe?” Gibbs answer was brief, and he repeated it multiple times: “We’ll have more to say after that meeting.” He later said people should “wait and see” the outcome of tomorrow’s meeting. It was an already scheduled update on Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Obama summoned McChrystal to Washington to hear his explanation.
The president and McChrystal have not spoken, Gibbs said. “The president is anxious to talk to him.”Gibbs said he gave Obama the article last night, and “he was angry,” especially because the profile is “distracting” from such a vital mission when progress in Afghanistan hangs in the balance.
When a reporter asked if Obama would dispute the general’s characterization in the Rolling Stone piece that Obama was not engaged during a key meeting about the war strategy, Gibbs deadpanned: “He’ll have his undivided attention tomorrow.”
Gibbs said Obama ordered McChrystal off the battlefield and to Washington “to see what in the world he was thinking.” Gibbs also said “all options” including firing McChrystal, are on the table tomorrow.
The press secretary also referred several times to the statement issued earlier by Defense Secretary Robert Gates calling the remarks a “significant mistake.”