KT McFarland will serve as President Donald Trump’s deputy national security advisor.
Trump’s pick of McFarland was announced on Friday, and it was praised by many Republicans and Donald Trump supporters on Twitter. McFarland previously served as a national security analyst on Fox News, hosting one of the network’s programs. She was also deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs and senior speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger during the Ronald Reagan administration, and she was an aide to Henry Kissinger during the Nixon administration.
Here’s what you need to know about the next deputy national security adviser for Donald Trump.
1. She Hosted ‘Defcon 3’ on Fox News
McFarland’s most recent job was as an analyst for the Fox News channel and as a host of its program Defcon 3.
That program no longer airs on Fox, but McFarland regularly appears as a commentator on various Fox programs to this day, most recently talking about globalism on Fox Business just one day before it was announced that she would be joining Donald Trump’s cabinet.
Shortly after Election Day, McFarland said on Fox News that she would serve as a “foot soldier” in Donald Trump’s revolution. At this time she was advising the Donald Trump transition team on foreign policy.
“I was a foot solider in the Reagan revolution, and I would be a foot solider in this one because I think every 40 years we have a national leader who comes in and cleans house and takes the status quo and shakes it up,” McFarland said.
However, McFarland added at the time that she had not spoken to Trump about a role in his administration.
2. She Has Been Critical of President Obama’s Approach to Combating ISIS
If the hiring of KT McFarland is any indication, Donald Trump’s administration will likely take a different approach to fighting ISIS, as McFarland has been very critical of President Obama on this front. Last year, after terrorist attacks in Paris, McFarland said that Obama is not up to the job of defeating ISIS.
“Radical Islam, whether it’s ISIS, whether it’s Al-Queda, whether it’s Boko Haram, is the existential threat of our time,” McFarland said at the time. “It affects all of Western civilization the same way fascism did in World War II, the same way communism did in the Cold War. What we need now are Churchill, we need FDR, we need Reagan…but we don’t have any of that in President Obama.”
McFarland went on to say that President Obama should have stood with foreign leaders and declared radical Islam is an assault against Western civilization.
This idea that President Obama has not done enough to combat ISIS, and that he has unwisely ignored the terrorist group, has been a consistent theme of McFarland’s.
“The president has stuck his head in the sand,” she said in 2014, according to The New York Times. “To me, it’s a dereliction of duty. What was this president doing? Well, he was playing a lot of golf this summer, but he clearly was not attending to the defense of the United States.”
3. She Says Donald Trump Won’t Have a Trigger-Happy Foreign Policy Approach
For those concerned about Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy, specifically because he has casually stated that he would “bomb the s**t” out of ISIS, KT McFarland recently said that Donald Trump will neither be trigger happy nor will he be isolationist.
“I’d put him smack down in the middle where Ronald Reagan was,” she said on Fox Business. “Have a strong military, but you don’t use it, and you have such a strong military that nobody picks a fight with you. But then if they’re dumb enough to do it, then you respond.”
When Donald Trump discussed his plans for fighting ISIS over the summer and said that he would bomb Libya, McFarland appeared on Fox Business to discuss Trump’s statements and agree with his foreign policy views.
“Trump keeps saying, ‘do what you’ve gotta do, do whatever it takes,'” she said. “That means, to me, [using an] economic weapon, ideological weapon, religious weapon, and immigration, military…the whole range of national security powers like we used to defeat the Communists and the Nazis.”
Although neither Donald Trump nor KT McFarland have gone into many specifics about defeating ISIS, McFarland said that Trump would take active steps to go after the terrorist group whereas Obama, McFarland argues, has not done so.
4. She Said in 2013 That Vladimir Putin Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize
Donald Trump has been criticized for repeatedly praising Vladimir Putin, and KT McFarland has received that same criticism as well. In a 2013 column on Fox News’ website, McFarland said that Putin is the one who deserved to receive Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.
In the column, McFarland credits Putin with preventing the United States’ from attacking Syria. She writes that “…the world knows that Vladimir Putin is the one who really deserves that Nobel Peace Prize. It turns out that leading from behind left a big opening up front. Putin stepped right in. And Obama still hasn’t figured it out.”
Then, in March of 2014, McFarland seemed to praise Putin on Twitter for annexing Ukraine, saying that it shows him to be a winner as opposed to President Obama. She has also said that Putin is “much smarter” than Obama, echoing comments Donald Trump made and was criticized for.
However, McFarland has also been critical of Putin on Fox, saying on Fox Business earlier this year that the next president should do more to stand up to Vladimir Putin than Barack Obama. She also said that the United States should reinforce NATO, which contradicts comments Donald Trump has made. When speaking to CNN earlier this year, Trump answered in the affirmative when asked if the U.S. should rethink it’s involvement in NATO.
“Yes, because it’s costing us too much money,” Trump said. “And frankly they have to put up more money. They’re going to have to put some up also. We’re paying disproportionately. It’s too much. And frankly it’s a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea. And everybody got together.”
5. She Ran for Senate Against Hillary Clinton in 2006
The 2016 election was the second time KT McFarland was involved in a race against Hillary Clinton.
A decade earlier, McFarland sought the Republican nomination in the New York Senate race for the seat of incumbent Senator Hillary Clinton. McFarland ran in the Republican primary against John Spencer, the former mayor of Yonkers. During the primary, Spencer took issue with McFarland’s claim that she was the highest ranking woman in the Ronald Reagan Pentagon, pointing out that there were two women working in the Pentagon at the time who outranked her. McFarland said that she was told during her hiring that she was the highest ranking female Pentagon official.
“At the time, I was told I was the first one with a policy portfolio,” she told The New York Times in 2006.
McFarland also ran into trouble during this campaign when she told a crowd that Hillary Clinton was spying on her from her bedroom window and having helicopters fly over her home, according to Talking Points Memo. McFarland later said she was only joking, but the episode still hurt her. Then, two weeks ahead of the Republican primary, McFarland suspended her campaign after her daughter was arrested for shoplifting.
“My husband Alan and I are deeply alarmed by this incident and will be spending every waking hour in the coming days dealing head-on with the repercussions of her actions,” McFarland said at the time, according to Fox News. “I will resume active campaigning only when I am certain that my daughter is OK and getting the help she needs.”
McFarland ultimately won 39 percent of the vote during the Republican primary. John Spencer secured the nomination, and he went on to be easily defeated by Hillary Clinton in the general election, with Clinton being re-elected with 67 percent of the vote.